A new report on injury claims figures in the UK that found that claims volume last year increased even as overall accident figures went down was ‘disappointing’ to the Motor Accident Solicitors Society – though not unexpected.
Car accident claims involving bodily injury were found to have increased by a ‘staggering’ 18 per cent from 2010 to 2011, the survey found, with industry analysts blaming claims management companies for encouraging spurious whiplash claims in a way to generate revenue through legal fees at the expense of the insurance industry. Insurers’ costs went up by an additional £400 million over the course of the research study, resulting in heightened premium prices for honest motorists – despite the fact that there were actually 11 per cent fewer accidents over the course of the year than in the previous one.
Donna Scully, chairperson for MASS, condemned the impact that claims management companies were having upon the personal injury compensation and motor car insurance sectors. The tactics employed by these claims management firms – such as sending unsolicited texts and cold calling – urgently needed to be addressed, said Ms Scully, as claims management companies cast a wide net in their efforts to run up legal bills for insurers.
Other steps that needed to be taken, according to MASS, include fostering a more collaborative environment between insurers and medical professionals to help weed out fraud. Fraudulent whiplash claims are an especially serious problem, and the need for more ‘robust’ regulations in order to rein in claims management companies is desperately needed, added Ms Scully.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill to make the problem of rampant whiplash injury claim fraud go away, the MASS chair said, commenting that the insurance industry lacks the ability to resolve the issue without outside help.