Churchill Update on Bethany Probert Case

8th February 2013

Earlier today we stated that we have been in contact with Bethany's lawyers. We told them that we were concerned that we had learned through the media, rather than through them, that she needed further funding for care and accommodation. In the course of that contact we have learned that since November 2012 Bethany's lawyers had information that would have enabled us to make a further interim payment. This information has only today been given to Churchill.

To help rectify this delay, Churchill has today fast-tracked its processes. Since this request fulfils our standard criteria, a payment of a further £750k for Bethany's care and accommodation has been approved.

Churchill Statement on Bethany Probert Case

08th February 2013

We are acutely aware of the public interest in the case of Bethany Probert. These types of accidents are distressing and our thoughts are always with the victims and their friends and family.

It is in everybody's interest that the claims process is resolved as fairly and effectively as possible. The law is clear that the level of compensation must reflect the facts and circumstances of each case.

In the case of Bethany Probert, we have already accepted that our insured driver was largely responsible for this accident, and the appeal hearing will not alter this fact.

We also recognise how vital it is that payments are made promptly to ensure people get the care they need. In Bethany's case, we made an initial payment for rehabilitation and care, followed by further interim payments. All such requests received to date have already been settled in agreement with Bethany's representatives, with payments to date amounting to £200,000.

We are concerned to learn that Bethany and her family are suffering hardship, so we have been in contact with her representatives requesting further details in order to ensure Bethany receives the level of care she needs until the appeal process concludes.

The facts of a case like Bethany's are rarely straightforward. Determining the share of responsibility for the contributory factors in an accident is an important part of the legal process that exists to establish the fair amount of compensation. The Court of Appeal will consider whether or not the initial trial judge was correct in finding that the driver was entirely to blame for what happened. We always honour our obligations and pay the compensation that we should. There is no question of that.

The insurance industry has a responsibility to make sure that insurers pay everything they should in a claim, as well as a responsibility to other policyholders that insurers pay no more than they should. If the industry were to allow this commitment to lapse, the cost of claims would increase and policyholders would quickly pay more for the insurance they buy to protect themselves.