The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has launched a voluntary code of practice for insurers taking part in so-called third-party capture. The practice, referred to by the ABI as ‘third-party assistance’, involves an insurance company settling a claim directly with a personal injury victim of a policyholder, without the victim receiving independent legal advice. Personal injury lawyers have condemned the practice. The ABI code states that claimants should be informed of their right to seek independent legal advice. Initial contact with victims should be by telephone, text message, email or letter, and should not involve unsolicited visits to claimants’ homes or hospital beds. All compensation offers should be ‘fair and reasonable’. The code also states that insurers should ‘strongly recommend’ that a claimant seek independent legal advice when: dealing with minors; where there are issues over fault; where the claimant has a limited understanding of English; where the injury requires more than one medical report or is complex; where there are possible fraud issues; and where there are ‘causation issues’. The association also published a guide for claimants. However, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said that the claimant guide fails to point out that the victim incurs no costs if they instruct an independent solicitor. APIL’s president, Muiris Lyons, said: ‘An injured person needs access to independent advice about such key aspects of the case as medical reports, rehabilitation and the level of compensation to be expected. The guide may well consider this an “unnecessary” legal cost, but putting peoples’ lives back on track after a needless injury is a serious matter and injured people deserve proper, independent support.’ The code, the list of insurers subscribing to the code, and the claimant guide are available on the ABI website.