In recent years, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which represents all insurance companies in the country, has successfully lobbied the Government to introduce a number of measures aimed at tackling fraudulent claims and deter what it considers to be a ‘compensation culture’ in the UK, in particular for whiplash injury car accident claims.
The ABI has suggested that these measures, which have included banning referral fees and reducing recoverable costs, should ultimately benefit everyone as if they have less to pay out for claims, this will lead to everyone in the country paying lower insurance premiums.
This Government has brought in some sweeping changes to the claims system and it shows no signs of abating ahead of the General Election on May 7, 2015.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has recently opened a consultation paper which closes on October 1, 2014, based on the ABI’s most recent recommendations.
The ABI has offered to set up a database for solicitors to see a potential client’s claim history for the last 5 years, which must be checked before a claim is started.
At present, insurance companies share a claims database and if someone has had a number of previous claims they sometimes consider that the matter may be fraudulent or exaggerated, but solicitors have not had access to this information.
Opening such a database to solicitors may assist firms in not accepting instructions where there is an excessive and/or unusual claims history.
Additionally, the ABI have also suggested to the MOJ that they will set up a second database that will allocate an independent medical expert automatically to prepare a report for a claim, which bypasses the current system of solicitors instructing an independent expert themselves, often via a medical agency.
Lord Faulks, Justice Minister, has suggested that “reforms will create an improved, robust system … so genuine whiplash claims can still be settled but fraud is driven out of the market”
Craig Budsworth, solicitor and chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) has suggested that insurers have not passed on any benefits from previous reforms to the consumer and premiums have yet to be reduced.
Personal Injury & Medical Negligence Department
0113 227 9355