The insurance industry’s claim of a crash for cash epidemic causing a hike on premium prices has been undermined by new research carried out by a national personal injury firm.
Previously, it had been claimed by the insurance industry that the reason for rapidly increasing consumer premiums, was down to the increasing number of Crash for Cash incidents that were being detected.
But Thompsons Solicitors, have exposed the statistics produced to back this claim up as bogus and accused the insurance industry of using them to lobby for further, more extreme personal injury reforms, which would serve to only benefit their commercial interests at the expense of access to justice.
Head of Policy at Thompsons, Tom Jones said: “The impression given is that there is a “Pandemic” of fraud and that’s why premiums are high, but it appears that simply isn’t the case. Thompsons is concerned that wildly inflated claims made by insurers are being used to undermine the law and damage the justice system.”
So what did the research carried out by Thompsons discover? Well I revealed that across five police forces in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Greater Manchester, City of London and Thames Valley, there is no data relating to incidents of this nature.
This is despite earlier research carried out by the Insurance Fraud Bureau suggested that one in seven personal injury claims were linked to Crash for Cash back in 2012.
Overall Thompsons sent eight freedom of information requests. Out of the other firms, two failed to respond and police said he didn’t know where the IFB had got their figures from.
Scott Rees & Co Partner, David Byrne, followed up the findings by Thompsons regarding crash for cash by criticising the Insurance industry’s lack of care in regard to the protection of access to justice for genuine claimants.
He said: “It is completely unacceptable how the insurance industry continue to disregard the importance of a claimant’s right to access to justice in the instance they are hurt in an accident.”
“They have once again been found to be pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes in order to protect their highest priority and that is their profits.”
“This is not a one off tactic from the insurance sector after they were discovered to be using dated information to try and bring about further whiplash reform last year and it is high time that the Government wised up to these behaviours and moved to stamp it out.”
The IFB has reacted defiantly to the accusations laid before them with a spokesman saying that their figures were based on analysis of industry data relating to suspected crash for cash.
They had originally claimed that the fraud had cost ‘honest policyholders’ nearly £400 a year in terms of additional premium cost, another point that will now be questioned further by the personal injury sector.
David Byrne added: “These figures show that there was clearly less need for the addition costs to motor insurance consumers and that if anything was causing the hike it certainly wasn’t what the insurance sector was putting it down to.”
“It is shocking to think that the profit margins of these companies have been prioritised over the rights of genuine claimants, who have been through stressful experiences, to claim for justice.”