As someone involved in the insurance industry, I welcomed the government’s recent legislation aimed at combatting the growing claims culture.
Under new laws to tackle insurance fraud, courts will be required to dismiss compensation applications if the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest. Claimants who exaggerate their injuries will have their entire claim rejected. To date claimants who made an exaggerated claim could still receive compensation for the fair value of their loss. The government also wants to tackle false whiplash claims. They will insist claimants have medical assessments conducted by independent accredited professionals, working on fixed fees for medical reports.
Whilst the government’s announcement is good news, worryingly many of the ‘ambulance chasing’ firms who have made a tidy sum from fraudulent or exaggerated whiplash claims are now attacking new areas. These include stress’ triggered by a road accident or ‘deafness’ caused in the workplace. Many insurers are now experiencing more claims for stress, loss of hearing and more claims on employer liability.
If we continue to let the claims culture gather momentum the UK could be replicating the US, with soaring premiums. What’s more firms or people will be reluctant to organise events where someone could fall over and sue them.
It is vital we get to grips with the claims culture, which is having a major impact on insurance premiums. The whole basis of the insurance contract is that the many through their premiums pay for the few in terms of claims. An increasing number of bogus claims completely undermines this model by helping to drive up premiums for all.
Many of our Sheffield clients fear or have been victims of bogus claims made against their business. This has an impact on their balance sheet and also requires spending many hours trying to prove an injustice has taken place.
Our support at IFM of the government actions follows a number of insurers including Aviva, now campaigning to eradicate types of fraudulent claims with real action. So let’s all make a stand against this dishonest and ugly activity.