Monday, January 29, 2007

Corrupt Insurers of the Scottish legal profession linked to Scottish Executive

More in from A Diary of Injustice in Scotland

INSURERS Royal & Sun Alliance PLC & Marsh UK (a subsidiary of Marsh Inc , of scandal fame in the US & international financial markets) - who also happen to be the same insurers of Scottish lawyers, in the infamously corrupt Professional Indemnity insurance scheme known as the Master Insurance Policy of theLaw Society of Scotland, have been identified in answers given to a question in the Scottish Parliament, as insurers also to Government Departments & many public services..

These revelations have left the Scottish Executive somewhat embarrassed, and unwilling to release much information on exactly how extensive these companies ties to Government are ... and pose new questions on why the Executive has stood by for so long while clients claims against crooked lawyers & other crooked professionals insurance policies have failed against a tide of corruption in the handling of such cases by professional regulatory bodies & insurers.

The revelations came in answers from the Scottish Executive Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform -Tom McCabe to a question from John Swinney MSP (SNP) on the subject of business between Government & the same insurers of the legal profession :

The Question : Mr John Swinney (North Tayside) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what contracts and arrangements for the provision of insurance services it holds with (a) Royal and Sun Alliance and (b) Marsh UK.

The Answer : (S2W-30261)

Mr Tom McCabe: The Scottish Executive does not hold a central record of contracts and arrangements for the provision of insurance services.

The Executive’s finance system (which covers core Executive departments and many Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies) shows that some payments have been made to Royal Sun Alliance and Marsh UK. However, details of the contracts and arrangements which relate to those payments could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

As a general rule commercial insurance would only be justified in constituent parts of the Scottish Administration if the cost of claims, including in-house and contracted-out administration costs, was calculated as likely to exceed the cost of insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances there are special factors which may justify commercial insurance being taken out.

So, it would appear from Tom McCabe's response, the Scottish Executive are incompetent at keeping track of public expenditure .. but that's definitely not the case here, because as we all know full well, when it comes to details involving companies who share business & lobbying interests with the professions - particularly the legal profession, the truth, is never easy to determine.

Further enquiries by Mr Stewart Mackenzie, a constituent of John Swinney MSP, have now revealed the amounts of public money paid by the Scottish Executive to Marsh & Royal & Sun Alliance PLC in the last 12 months, are in the area of : £157,000 to Marsh and £16,000 to Royal Sun Alliance.

While the Scottish Executive are definitely not forthcoming in terms of detail on just which Departments or which members of staff are insured by Royal & Sun Alliance & Marsh UK .. certain Scottish Executive Ministerial appointees such as the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman, who is responsible for investigating complaints against the Law Society of Scotland, is known to be covered by these same insurance companies, which also insure lawyers against negligence claims from client complaints ... and this certainly leaves open charges of a clear conflict of interest when an Ombudsman to an industry, is insured by the same insurers. Little wonder then, the Executive are cagey about revealing the information.

These insurance arrangements have thought to have been in existence for some time, although in the late 1990's, Civil Servants at the Scottish Office claimed in similar inquries made at the time, that the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman had no insurance for professional negligence of the type which has now been revealed to be the case ...

It seems to be a foregone conclusion then, that the Scottish Executive's Justice Department, and indeed, most Departments, including Departmental Ministers, are probably insured under these same insurance arrangements, for just about everything under the sun, to protect against any eventuality of liability .. but it is thought many more parts of Scottish Government, including the Police, Health, & other public services, right down to Local Government, have most probably fell under the spell of such insurance arrangements linked to 'questionable companies' which the Executive seem determined to keep secret.

McCabe is purposely evasive in his response, not giving any detail away at all .. probably because as I know full well, the tentacles of these insurance firms are quite extensive throughout Government & the public sector. To quote McCabe directly :

"As a general rule commercial insurance would only be justified in constituent parts of the Scottish Administration if the cost of claims, including in-house and contracted-out administration costs, was calculated as likely to exceed the cost of insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances there are special factors which may justify commercial insurance being taken out."

Let's have a few examples of this to enlighten the public ...

If a Chief Constable is sued by a member of the public for negligence, or any other matter .. the CC is generally insured against such a claim ... so, is it RSA & Marsh UK again ? .. or have the claims been farmed out to some other organisation to keep people from linking up the dots and drawing conclusions of giant conflicts of interest ... when in such a case, the lawyers who would be pursuing the Chief Constable for a client, would be insured by the same insurers.

Try this one for size ... A Doctor is negligent, and allows your family member to die. You engage lawyers to sue the Doctor & the local Health Authority for negligence .. but unbeknown to you, your lawyer is insured by the same insurers, who insure the Health Authority, and possibly even the Doctor ... How about that ? Well, it happens .. and I can attest to that one myself, from my experience with crooked lawyer Michael Robson in the case of the death of my mother at Borders General Hospital.

Housing Associations are also a favourite of Marsh UK it seems, with perhaps the RSA not far behind ? ... I have read of cases where tenants have tried to make claims of negligence, or other kinds of damages claims against their Housing Association landlords, and had the most horrible time of it, with every dirty trick used against them, from even filing false information with Police, the Benefits Agency & other organisations in an attempt to knock their claim out of court, but all the while, the same insurers insure the tenant's lawyer.

Same goes for Scotland's other infamously crooked body - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, whose 'CA" (Chartered Accountant) members can be as crooked & criminal as they like - a good example of this being the crooked Borders accountant Norman Howitt who ripped my father's estate off and stole my mother's pension & Bank books for himself ... ICAS were so secretive on their insurance arrangements for professional negligence, they refused to identify the company responsible (I was later told by a Journalist it was Marsh & RSA again) .. and the carefully worded ICAS report into Howitt avoided any mention of negligence .. just as what happens with Law Society reports into crooked lawyers.

The same applies for many other public services, and also the commercial sector, as Marsh Inc & the Royal & Sun Alliance claim themselves to be one of the biggest providers of insurance cover for professional indemnity to virtually every walk of life .. and particularly the financial sector .. where all of those who have been trying to make negligence or other kinds of claims against Banks & other financial institutions, may have failed to realise, the same insurers who insured the Bank, also insured their lawyer .. who perhaps .. failed to progress the case very much .. or fail to win such a settlement as what should have been awarded ...

However, some say there may be much more to this secrecy than just the Executive wanting to keep it's insurance arrangements secret just because they link up Government to the same crooked insurance companies which have prevented thousands of cases from ever getting near the courts, through using the most dirty tricks possible & prevaricating the public in negligence claims against the likes of crooked lawyers, while the Scottish Executive stood by, knowing all the time the reasons these cases would never be successful.

Not to mention another lurking factor in this .. well .. these same companies are known for making political donations in the USA .. obviously to the party which best represents their business interests .. and as we have seen over the years, with the complex arrangements of donations to political parties, which may well have brought business in and held onto established markets .. certainly such as the legal & financial sectors. Could it be perhaps, that New Labour have had a few donations from the insurers to maintain their business interests ? ... It may be so.

So, could this be the holy grail of links between the likes of crooked lawyers & our Scottish Executive, which have prevented for so long members of the public, such as myself and many many others, from getting anywhere near a court to make a negligence claim ? Could this be one of the main reasons that the Law Society of Scotland has been allowed to fiddle it's way through tens of thousands of client complaints against crooked lawyers over the years .. while the Executive and many politicians have stood by and done nothing ?

I think it may well be the case that we are looking at one of the major reasons why many claims against the likes of crooked lawyers, negligent medical staff, the Police, Courts, and all sorts of so-called professions, Government Departments, etc , have failed over the years - because the Government has been using the same insurance services to defend themselves against such claims. Quite a simple answer there .. and quite realistic.

One could almost call this cosy arrangement of using the same insurers a 'partnership against the public' .. certainly at the very least, it shows a gigantic conflict of interest when it comes to members of the public trying to get justice in their cases against those referred to above .. all the while, our legislators are using the same insurance services .. and offer us no help at all in cases where help is certainly required.

Time for this 'partnership against the public' to be ended ... we don't need the same corrupt financial & insurance companies insuring the professions and Government, do we ? No wonder no one can progress their claims to court .. everyone from the lawyers we use, to the Court staff, to the Judge, to the Government, seems to be insured by the same cartels of insurance companies.

It's time for an investigation into why this has gone on for so long ... and time for those in Government to admit their guilt in standing by for so long, while the public have begged for help and received none against the likes of crooked lawyers & other crooked professionals ..

How about also asking why the Government has been paying public money to a knowingly corrupt insurance company for so long ? .. and not bothered to investigate it's insurance practices in the UK .. when so many reports of corruption have been made by members of the public in dealings with these companies and claims against their insured clients ...

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