I think I have posted a comment abou this before, but the short answer is that legal expenses insurance is the biggest waste of space going.
Although appearing to be free the cost of LEI is often swallowed up in the overall cost of the policy. Because the solicitors are appointed by the insurers
who often work for reduced fees in order to get the work, they are often of inferior quality and you the policy hodler have no say over who is
appointed, and it may be someone at the other end of the country.
However, everyone is entiltled to have access to free representation and this where the Conditional Fee Agreement (no win no fee) scores over Legal expenses insurance.
Under a CFA, you choose who you want to represent you and once you have selected your lawyer, your case is risk assessed. On acceptance, your solicitor will cnsider taking out what s called an after the event or ATE insurance policy with protects you in the event that you lose your case and therefore avoids you ending up with massive legal costs.
In the event that you win, you will get your compensation and the cost of the insuranceis paid for by the third party.
It is a guaranteed way of having lawyers you want at no cost.
In my opinion, LEI is a con, and in 99% of cases you can get better representation by going under the CFA than using LEI.
LEI will and does work in some cases, particularly in non motor and non personal injury cases, but for something like a motorcycle accident or serious injury
cases, private law firms every time.
The other point is, that not all LEI solicitors belong to the appropriate professional associations such as APIL, CPIL, The Law
Society Personal Injury Panel (It is still called that for the moment) Headway, and I know of one solicitor dealing with a fatal who is
actually a property solicitor, and he was appointed by DAS insurance under LEI.
Personally, I never have LEI on my motoring policies because I know how it works, but then I do have inside knowledge.
Going on from that
In the issue dated April 2001, the Insurance Ombudsman states “… we consider that insurers should take a pragmatic approach. Where one firm is already familiar with all the background and is dealing satisfactorily with the case, it will generally not be sensible for the insurers to involve another firm, unless, for example, the new firm has superior expertise …”.
In March 2003 the Ombudsman also provided the following clear guidance, namely “… we consider that insurers should also agree the appointment of
More generally there are other circumstances where it may be unreasonable, or out of line with good industry practice if the insurer fails to agree to the appointment of the policyholder’s own choice of solicitor. This could be the case, for example where the policyholder’sown solicitors have already had considerable involvement in (and knowledge of) the issues giving rise to the dispute or related matters …”.
the policyholder’s preferred solicitors in cases that involve significant boundary or employment disputes (especially if there is a considerable history to investigate and assess)
What that means is that you as the policy holder can choose whoever you want to represent you in the event that you have LEI, and whilst they will try it on, they cannot refuse to instruct who you want to represent you but they won’t tell you that. But in any case, you are still better off having your case funded by a CFA.
Hope that answers the question for you?