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Insurance Trend Update for the Midlands/South West

At BCL Legal a significant portion of our business transacts within the insurance space from paralegal to partner level.  As an agency we are better placed than any other to advise and guide you through this market; many of our clients work with us on a sole agency or tier one supplier status meaning BCL candidates get early access to the hottest insurance positions.

Throughout the first quarter of 2012 there have been the following notable trends within insurance recruitment:

Professional Indemnity – At present there is a dearth of candidates across the Midlands and the South at the 2 – 5 year PQE level.  Many of our clients have widened their search to look at commercial litigators looking to specialise in indemnity work however when it comes to shortlist stage they are still holding our for professional indemnity specialists.  Many opportunities exists at the top tier insurance practices for solicitors to defend claims against a wide range of professions but in particularly high demand are solicitors who have expertise in defending claims against construction professionals.  London based candidates looking to move out of the City are finding excellent rates of pay and high quality work is on offer, particularly at the Bristol and Birmingham firms.

Property Damage – Solicitors capable of handling subrogated recoveries and coverage disputes are particularly sought after in the current climate.  Roles are often broad in remit covering policy coverage, property damage, negligence, product liability and breach of contract.  Commercial litigation solicitors with no insurance track record but a defendant mind set who use part 36 of the CPR on a regular basis are being interviewed for these positions as there is a shortage of fee earners in the market with directly relevant experience.

Claimant Personal Injury – Quiet for much of 2011 claimant personal injury recruitment is on the rise again with the high street practices starting to recover after a tough 3 or 4 years.  Particularly sought after are 0 – 3 year PQE claimant fee earners in the East Midlands who have demonstrable track records in litigated EL/PL and RTA work at the fast and multi-track level.

Insurance Fraud – A buoyant area of recruitment throughout 2011, a number of firms in the Birmingham area are still looking to add head count to their insurance fraud teams from paralegal to senior fee earner level.  Litigation experience is key for these roles and fee earners who can pick up their own insurance fraud files from day one are particularly sought after.  At the junior end the brief is more flexible with paralegals with at least 6 months litigated RTA experience getting interest from these insurance fraud departments.  One firm is looking to bulk up their enforcement/debt recovery team to allow fee earners more time to handle files rather than enforce judgements.

Clinical Negligence – Despite the decision on the NHSLA tender pending a number of firms across the East and West Midlands have appetite to hire into their clinical negligence teams at the 3 years plus PQE level.  Strong defendant insurance lawyers with heavyweight/complex injury experience are being requested for interview for these clinical negligence roles where damages are often valued at the multi-million pound level.

Defendant Personal Injury – A quiet start to 2012 there have been noticeably fewer instructions on the general defendant personal injury side for the first quarter of this year.  The opportunities that do exist require heavyweight catastrophic experience as a must, as well as an interest in candidates with niche experience such as psychiatric injury, complex regional pain or experience of Animal Act matters.  Paralegal recruitment has been particularly quiet in this area with some of the large practices holding out from recruiting until the new financial year.

With year end now over and fresh budgets to recruit with we anticipate a busy quarter two for insurance instructions.  For more information on the insurance market or a confidential discussion on your current situation please visit our website BCL Legal.

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