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Claims manager, Michael Cutmore, is a man of many talents; he was driving tractors on his family’s farm at 12 years of age, he sings and has been playing the drums in various bands for nearly 24 years. To top this, Michael will be marking his 10th anniversary with Arc Legal next year!
He joined the company in 2007 as employee number 12. Michael started as a claims advisor but as this was a small and growing business, he used his technology skills to provide IT helpdesk support and acted as Administration Manager for a while.
Over the last nine years, Michael progressed from Claims Handler to Senior Claims Handler to Claims Team Manager, and now is one of the company’s two Claims Managers with responsibility for the fast-track team, working across a range of areas including the company’s specialist scheme business which incorporates police crime and misconduct cases, marine and leisure claims as well as other niche affinity business lines. Michael also acts as a key contact for claims under the company’s Police Federation contracts.
Arc Legal provides specialist legal expenses policies for members of Police Federations and currently covers over half of all Police Officers in England and Wales. Working closely with clients we continue to ensure the products meet the emerging needs of off- duty officers across the UK.
Michael discusses developments in cover for Police Federation members, including the evolution of prosecution defence cover in response to cuts in Legal Aid.
Developing cover to meet the emerging needs of off- duty police officers.
“Police officers continue to hold a unique position in society but with that comes a pressure many would not understand. This can lead to claims where an officer faces criminal allegations and/or misconduct proceedings. The modernisation of the force and the increased focus on its public image has also led to more scrutiny of police officers and their investigation for issues such as gross misconduct. In just one of the 43 police forces in England and Wales there were a total of 256 misconduct related decisions made against officers and police staff in a 14 month period.
“We recognise this growing exposure, providing coverage for officers at investigation and hearing stages of gross misconduct for matters alleged while outside of their purported duties. Nationally, over two thirds of British Police Officer misconduct hearings end in dismissal. However with Arc Legal’s strong solicitor network which specialises in these claims, we are successfully assisting around 80% of officers in retaining their employment when they make a claim against the cover.”
Prosecutions defence cover in response to legal cuts
“Perhaps the most important Legal Expenses Insurance cover we provide Police Federation members is assistance with representation in the criminal courts and at misconduct hearings. Such events can have a significant impact on their careers and lives.
“Over the past few years, a series of reforms have impacted on the provision of public funding for defendants’ representation at court. Arc Legal responded by adapting cover to ensure we provide assistance in as many scenarios as possible. Ninety per cent of cases we fund proceed no further than Magistrates Court and the policy provides cover for legal advisers’ costs to defend criminal proceedings. If a matter does proceed to Crown Court, defendants will have the Legal Aid Agency means test to determine the level of contribution they are required to make towards the cost of representation via the Legal Aid system. Our cover is designed to meet those contributions so a Police Federation member should not find themselves out of pocket.
“Legal Aid cuts are not limited to Police Offices alone, and we have recently extended the Family Legal Expenses cover to include legal defence. This, together with our specialist solicitor network, ensures our service is relevant and responsive.”