Government beefs up insurance fraud crackdown
Announced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, the package of measures includes:
- Requiring courts to throw out compensation applications in full where the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest – to stop people who have had an accident from exploiting the system by making bogus claims or grossly exaggerating the extent of their injuries
- Plans to ban lawyers from encouraging people to make claims by offering them incentives like cash or iPads
- Reducing questionable whiplash claims by improving medical assessments, ensuring they are only conducted by independent accredited professionals, and setting fixed fees for medical reports this year
- Introducing new rules this year to restrict the practice of settling whiplash claims without confirmation of the claimant’s injury
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘We are making sure we do our bit to help drivers with the cost of running a car, and putting money back in their pockets.
‘Insurance premiums have fallen by record amounts over the past year as we have turned the tide on the compensation culture but there is more to do. We are continuing to go after the fraudsters who force up costs for honest drivers.’
Despite a fall in average insurance premiums, recent figures from the Association of British Insurers have shown that the number of dishonest motor claims increased by 34% to a record 59,900 in 2013, with a value of £811m.
However, whilst the moves were welcomed by anti-fraud firm, APU, it said that it thinks the Ministry of Justice has not gone far enough.
‘The Government needs to provide a much firmer deterrent and compel insurers, the Police and other interested parties to collaborate in the fight against fraud,’ said Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at APU Ltd.
‘As well as a zero-tolerance approach to the fraudsters themselves, there’s a desperate need for increased communication between public and private sectors, which is vital if the rise in motor fraud is to be stopped.
‘Better co-operation between police, insurance firms, law enforcement agencies and private companies, like APU, is essential when the public sector’s resources are so scarce.’