The Chief Executive of The Law Society has called for the outlawing of claims management companies (CMCs) at the latest round of the whiplash debate in the House of Commons yesterday.
Desmond Hudson, outlined his belief that the existence of the process where claims are being sold by insurance companies may have contributed to exaggerated claims and the fraud that the government are so keen to stamp out and therefore he believed that the practice of CMCs should be made unlawful.
He didn’t stop there either as he challenged the view that the UK is the ‘whiplash capital of the world’ when being questioned by the committee chair, Louise Ellman.
Also appearing in the House of Commons today was Andrew Ritchie QC of 9 Gough Square who focused his evidence on the governments claim that the UK had a disproportionate amount of whiplash cases.
He pointed out that the government had based their figures on the STATS19 database, which covers public highway accidents that are reported to the police and involve human injury and death, which created ‘completely inaccurate’ findings when it came to whiplash as crashes that cause whiplash are very rarely reported to the police as they are minor accidents. Mr Ritchie stated that this meant the figures are inaccurate by at least 200-300%.
He was supported by the chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), Craig Budsworth who went on to explain why there was such a high number of slow speed accidents in the UK. Mr Budsworth explained: “The average car speed is the lowest in Europe so minor injuries are more common… roads are slower in the UK, which brings more minor car collisions.”
This was met with a stinging comment from Labour MP, Graham Stringer (pictured) who described Mr Budsworth’s admission as ‘like saying my homework fell down the drain’, however Mr Stringer is known for his ignorance when it comes to the undisputable fact. Few can forget his claim that dyslexia was a ‘cruel fiction that should be consigned to the dustbin of history‘ in 2009.
Speaking of disputing fact the insurance industry had their say earlier on with Dominic Claydon, Claims Director of Aviva UK taking to the stand. He and his peers underlined studies that claimed that anywhere between 10% and 60% of whiplash claims were exaggerated of spurious, which brought the questions of hotspots for such activity.
When questioned on this Mr Claydon said: “There was a strong linkage between the incidence of cash-for-crash cases and the prevalence of CMCs that may be coincidental.”
This is clearly an example of the insurance industry passing the buck on to the CMCs as they have done throughout this period of reform. The debate continues…
1. Wikipedia; Rathfelder; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graham_Stringer_MP.JPG