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New health regime may be torpedoed by planning

1 November 2013

At the end of 2013 the government announced a £50m pilot to extend GP surgeries' opening hours – up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The main aim is to reduce admissions to accident and emergency departments, and alleviate the pressure on hospitals. In the process, the scheme is expected to enhance primary care and make the heath service more accessible to people who work.

Published in Property Week on 1 November 2013.

Litigation trends: regulatory investigations, whistle-blowing, and bribery

20 October 2013

The trend for increased regulatory investigations and follow-on criminal proceedings in both the US and UK has shown no sign of abating. With it has also come an eye watering level of punitive sanction, with fines imposed in the hundreds of millions of pounds or dollars. The threat of financial and criminal penalties are always a great driver in changing business practices, and they do help to focus the business community's collective mind. In turn, legal advisers have identified this need, and there is a noticeable trend towards firms bulking up expertise, as they ready themselves to meet an increasing demand for regulatory advice to steer them and their employees through unfamiliar territory.

Published in New Law Journal on 20 September 2013.

Meet the vision for paperless data through procurement

18 October 2013

In July NHS England published its vision of access to digital data across care settings - Safer Hospitals Safer Wards - Achieving an integrated digital care record - and how this to be achieved. It acknowledged that the NHS has been slow to adopt new developments and that this has to change. NHS England's strategy builds on Jeremy Hunt's vision of a paperless NHS by 2018 and this new vision of the future came in the same month that NHS England began a consultation on a proposal to require a much larger dataset be electronically provided by hospitals from April 2014. This will require many hospitals to implement new systems.

Published in Health Service Journal on 18 October 2013.

Who’s responsible if a product doesn’t do what it says it does on the tin?

15 October 2013

The question of whether responsibility for product failures lies with the closely regulated product providers or the financial advisers who distribute the product is a perennial one in dealing with claims against financial advisers. Some of the highest profile claims against financial advisers – the AIG bond, Keydata and Arch Cru - are obvious examples, but the issue arises on many claims and is at the heart of what IFAs are doing every day when they carry out due diligence on products. Can you trust what product providers tell you?

Published in PFS Magazine, October 2013 issue

Competition Review

1 October 2013

The Competition Commission (CC) published its provisional findings in relation to its Private Healthcare Market Investigation on 28 August and 2 September 2013.

The investigation, which started on 4 April 2012 following a referral by the Office of Fair Trading, must be closed by 3 April 2014. Its main focus is on the interactions between consultants, hospital operators, patients and, where relevant, Private Medical Insurers (PMIs).

Published in Healthcare Market News on 1 October 2013.

Clinical Commissioning and the Francis Report

23 September 2013

The Francis Report is arguably the most influential report in recent years on the state and practice of the NHS. While it focuses on the sub-standard provision of care by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the report also examines the role played by its commissioners in the resultant patient care failings.

Published in Health Service Journal on 23 September 2013.

Shutting the stable door

11 September 2013

Earlier this year, consumers, retailers and producer discovered an unwelcome ingredient in meat products and so the horsemeat scandal was born. It is still early days in terms of assessing the full cost of horsemeat claims, although early indications are that consumer claims may be modest. What this does do, however, is highlight the exposure and opportunities around supply chain risks.

Published in Insider Quarterly on 11 September 2013.

The corporate governance that came in from the cold

4 September 2013

In March 2013, EIOPA launched a public consultation on four draft Guidelines related to the preparation for Solvency II, covering among other things the area of System of governance. The purpose of the Guidelines is to support both national supervisors and insurers in their preparations for the Solvency II requirements, following EIOPA’s Opinion on interim measures issued in December 2012.

Published in Global Reinsurance on 4 September 2013.

Integrated health and social care services – a landscape of opportunity for providers?

1 September 2013

The integration of health and social care services acquired a new statutory status last year when the Health and Social Care Act 2012 imposed duties to promote integration on the new NHS bodies, Monitor and the new local authority Health & Wellbeing Boards.

Published in Community Care Market News on 1 September 2013.

The Energy Act 2011

29 August 2013

Why is it significant for insurers and their policyholders? Because commercial and residential buy-to-let properties, which fail to meet energy efficiency standards by 1 April 2018, cannot be rented out, until improvements have been made.

Published by the Chartered Insurance Institute's Journal on 29 August 2013.

More Mis-selling Claims for Financial Lines Insurers

22 August 2013

High street banks are bracing themselves for yet another wave of compensation payments following the recent announcement that compensation will soon be paid to customers who were mis-sold fraud or identity protection policies issued by Card Protection Plan Ltd (CPP).

Published in Insurance Day on 22 August 2013.

The Malaysian Financial Services and Islamic Financial Services Acts 2013

7 August 2013

The Malaysian financial sector is poised to experience major changes in the way its insurance and financial institutions operate, with the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 and the Malaysian Financial Services Act 2013 now finally in force (1 July 2013).

Published in Insurance Day on 7 August 2013.

Islamic Insurance at the Crossroads

6 August 2013

The Inland Revenue and Stamp Duty Legislation (Alternative Bond Schemes) (Amendment) Ordinance is not the flashiest title you could give a new piece of legislation, so it is perhaps understandable that its arrival in Hong Kong went largely unnoticed outside of the territory. Yet this obscure law, which puts the taxation of sukuk (Islamic bonds) on a level footing with conventional bonds in Hong Kong, marks a significant effort by the Hong Kong Government to promote the development of a sukuk market in the territory.

Published in Insurance Insight on 6 August 2013.

The right to appeal arbitration awards in coverage disputes

26 July 2013

Insurance and reinsurance policies commonly require arbitration of coverage disputes. The advantages of arbitration in the context of a coverage dispute include the relative privacy of the arbitral process, hearings and award. Due to the limited grounds on which an award can be challenged in the English Courts, sensitive information addressed in such disputes often remains confidential even after the conclusion of proceedings.

Published by the British Insurance Law Assocation in July 2013.

Collective redress - steering a middle course

16 July 2013

Businesses and insurers, fearful that the European Commission was about to propose an EU-wide class action system akin to the USA, should now be breathing more easily.

Published in Insurance Day on 16 July 2013.

Product Integrity and Takaful Reputation Risk

11 July 2013

The widespread practice of "re-engineering" takaful contracts from conventional insurance contracts undermines takaful product integrity. Steven Dewhurst and Professor Andrew White explain the problem and examine the significant reputational risk that it creates for takaful operators.

Published in Middle East Insurance Review July - August 2013 issue

Mehjoo v Harben Barker

4 July 2013

Make no mistake, as Barak Obama is prone to saying, the recent decision in Mehjoo v Harben Barker has a number of surprising elements if one takes the time to read the full judgment.

Published in Economia on 4 July 2013.

The Cost of Waste: Professional Indemnity Insurers Beware

26 June 2013

In court proceedings, solicitors, barristers and other representatives can be subjected to an order for payment of wasted costs if found to have conducted themselves, improperly, unreasonably or negligently. The wasted costs jurisdiction has traditionally been rarely used but two recent cases may signal the start of an increasing trend in the post-Jackson landscape. This is of concern for professional indemnity (PI) insurers, given that such orders will usually fall within the scope of the Minimum Terms under a solicitor's professional indemnity policy.

Published in Insurance Day on 26 June 2013.

Optimising Labuan

19 June 2013

Some minor changes to the way in which insurance and reinsurance business is carried on in domestic Malaysia and Labuan could be beneficial. We take a look at why.

No More “Dead Mens’ Shoes” – Justifying a Retirement Age for Partners

17 June 2013

The long-running saga of whether a law firm could justify requiring an equity partner to retire at the age of 65 finally reached a conclusion on 28 May. Applying the principles in the judgments of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the Employment Tribunal in Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes rejected the claim that Mr Seldon was directly discriminated against because of his age. The requirement that he retire at 65 was found to be objectively justified: the firm was able to demonstrate that it was a proportionate means of achieving legitimate aims.