STEP PPI Briefing Note

Good afternoon. We have been considering the STEP PPI briefing note regarding the potential for claims management companies to target fiduciaries, ie executors, deputies and attorneys where no claim for PPI is made before the deadline of 29 August 2019. I would be grateful for your thoughts or confirmation of what steps your firms are taking in light of STEP’s warning. Of course this is an opportunity to add value to our clients, but am also conscious of the huge amount of non-chargeable work this could create if we also have to deal with historic estates. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Sharon Heselton
B P Collins

I suspect that many firms will have similar difficulties namely (a) the large volume of files that would require review (b) the relatively short time available to remedy any problems.

It would be helpful if STEP or the Law Society could give some guidance whether an executor or a practitioner (which presumably would be different tests) could reasonably be considered negligent in their respective duties for not checking for PPI claims. I can’t see that it follows directly from the Insolvency Service’s recent actions that they have suggested any negligence on the part of insolvency practitioners, but rather that they have simply identified the opportunity to reclaim PPI money before the deadline.

In the case of probate, if the majority of reasonable executors and practitioners have not made these checks, and indeed prior to the Insolvency Service actions, considered that they were not negligent in omitting to do so, then doesn’t that make it difficult for a would-be claimant to say that their particular executor/practitioner has fallen short of a reasonable standard in not doing so?

Ben Leach
Molesworths Bright Clegg

2 Likes

I wonder whether anyone else has views on this? I thought this would be quite a hot topic, but the silence makes me wonder whether:

  1. Nobody thinks it’s worth bothering about; or
  2. Everyone’s too busy trawling through their archived probate files to comment! :wink:

Ben Leach
Molesworths Bright Clegg

With regard to Ben Leach’s last posting, the Law Society recently published an article by Professor Lesley King, which will be of interest: http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/private-client/news-and-updates/private-client-section-commentary/payment-protection-insurance-and-private-client-practitioners/5067704.article

As I understand it, many of the leading firms are actively reviewing their back books. Kings Court Trustees are one of those taking the issue seriously and published a note on this a few weeks ago: https://www.kctrust.co.uk/partner-blog/ppi-claims-against-estates

I also understand that various insurers are advising their client firms to undertake a review.

Clearly, it must be a case of each firm undertaking its own risk analysis, perhaps with the benefit of guidance from their PII insurer

Paul Saunders

As a Locum Solicitor I’ve seen different responses from firms.

When appointed as executors, most firms are checking for PPI in all files, both live and historic.

Lay executors are being advised about the possibility of claiming for mis-sold PPI in live files, but not in archived files where contact details may have changed.

However, some firms are doing nothing on the basis that:

  1. the time cost outweighs the risk
  2. insurers are not asking for steps to be taken
  3. if a claim is made, it’s likely to be low value

Karen Shakespeare

The problem with this issue is that we wont really know until after 29 August, whether claims companies will be successful in pursuing firm’s for failing to make a claim on behalf of Executors. If the first few claims stick, then there could be an issue. Many claims could be within firms’ excess.

I don’t think the STEP briefing note was particularly helpful in this instance. The article from Lesley King was but even then not all insurers have given guidance.

I think there is also a concern that writing to lay Executors after a lengthy period of time, may cause upset. It may also give the impression that the writer is trying to secure further work from their deceased relative’s estate. The fact that the letter is being sent within a few months of the PPI claims deadline may also amount to a tacit admission of liability.

Justin Wallace
Brewer Harding & Rowe