The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed its new code of conduct for their members on dealing with victims of road traffic accidents.
The voluntary code, which has been promised by the ABI since last year, promises to ensure the best interests of the personal injury claimant are protected.
The new code will ensure that insurers will:
- Ensure policyholders are made aware of their options when choosing a lawyer, including any links the insurer may have with them
- Emphasise the customers right to choose their own legal representative
- Not apply, or use firms who may apply, pressure such as cold calling on customers to claim;
- Not share personal information with a third party if they have said they would not pursue a claim;
- Ensure that any third parties recommended to handle a claim will not increase legal costs for at-fault insurers.
The personal injury industry has welcomed the introduction of the code by the ABI, although APIL expressed that there were still concerns over what is missing from the code.
APIL Vice President, John Spencer said: “ABI members not to add unnecessary cost to the process is vital. However it will not provide a substitute for the absolute imperative for the injured person to be independently represented. This fundamental requirement is missing from the code.”
The code is the first reaction from the ABI to the Justice Secretary’ commitment of bring an end to the process of pre-settlement offers being made to claimants.
Paul Evans, who is the chairman of the ABI‘s general insurance council management committee, underlined that the industry remain committed to paying fair compensation to those who are genuinely injured.
He also talked about the relation of the new code of practice to the civil justice reforms saying: “This code, which insurers initiated and drafted – helps to ensure that both the letter and the spirit of these reforms are embedded into the insurance industry’s everyday practice.”
What remains to be seen is whether they can effectively self police the implementation and adherence to the new codes moving forward, something the government will have to give thought to over the coming months when considering whether or not to implement legislation.