Legal business DWF’s Head of Motor, Fraud, Costs and Claimant Teams partner Nigel Teasdale has been elected as the President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) to lead the professional body through what is expected to be a year of unprecedented change for the legal and insurance industries with Brexit on the horizon and technology continuing to advance at a rapid pace.
As well as partner and Head of the Motor, Fraud, and Costs teams at DWF, Nigel is a director of MedCo, the industry body set up by the Ministry of Justice to oversee the quality of medical reporting in the UK, acting as FOIL’s representative on its board.
Nigel comments: “I anticipate a year of challenges and opportunities ahead, with the brave new world of Brexit on the horizon. There was significant delay to reform in the lead up to the referendum and uncertainty remains about its implications for the legal and insurance sectors going forward. In particular, there has been a delay in the reform around whiplash and the small claims track, and we hope there will be progress in the widening of fixed costs in the coming year.
“Brexit comes at a time when technology is presenting new challenges for insurers – for example around autonomous vehicles and telematics, and increasing cyber risk. I am looking forward to embracing this exciting change in my year in office.”
Against this backdrop, it is important that professional standards are set high, and in the coming year, Nigel will aim to promote FOIL’s role in learning and development. FOIL launched the FOIL Standard in June last year to set the standard for insurance lawyers, and the phrase ‘working to the FOIL Standard’ is becoming more well-known. All lawyers with care and conduct of client matters have to meet the competencies appropriate for their work-type, according to specific statements of legal knowledge developed by FOIL. Equally, Nigel hopes to continue the work of FOIL in fostering the next generation of insurance lawyers and engaging with the sector leaders of the future through Tomorrow’s FOIL.
Commenting on Nigel’s appointment, FOIL Chief Executive Laurence Besemer says: “At a time when great changes for the legal profession, the insurance market and Britain’s relationship with Europe are coming, it is tremendously reassuring to see Nigel, who has worked on the National Committee for four years already, stepping up to the Presidency of FOIL. His deep understanding of the market and the respect he commands will be invaluable to FOIL as we all go forward into somewhat uncertain times.”
Over the past year DWF has made significant investments in growing its counter fraud capability for the benefit of its major insurer clients. Last year DWF appointed partner Lorraine Carolan from DAC Beachcroft as the firm’s National Head of Counter Fraud, followed shortly by the appointment of partner Miles Hepworth also from DAC Beachcroft. The firm has recently launched a counter fraud team in Scotland with the appointment of partner Jill Sinclair, who heads the Scottish team, and solicitor Justine Reilly, also from DAC Beachcroft.