ABI Urge Fee Cut for Industrial Deafness Claims

This article was published on: 09/16/14

Association of British Insurers (ABI) logo

The ABI has claimed that solicitor fees for industrial deafness claims should be curbed in order to stop claimant lawyers turning it in to the, as they put it, ‘new cash cow’.

After an eventful two years where the insurers have all but grounded legal representation out of the small claims court, most notably for whiplash claims, it seems as though the ABI have got bored at the recent slowing progress of destruction on that path and have decided to turn their attention to industrial deafness instead.

Their allegation has come as claims management companies begin to pick up more and more claims of this nature and it is clear they are prepared to display the same level of ignorance in pursuit of cut costs as they did with the whiplash reforms.

Speaking at the European Forum on Claims Management, the ABI‘s Head of Motor and Liability, Jack Dalton, said: “Industrial deafness claims are fast becoming the new cash cow for claimant lawyers, eager to make up for the last year’s reduction of fixed legal fees in the claims portal. With lawyers typically pocketing three times the amount of compensation paid to the claimant, the rise in industrial deafness claims shows that claimant lawyers are keeping the compensation culture alive and well.”

“Insurers are here to pay fair compensation to genuine claimants. But we need to tackle the increasing number of industrial deafness claims, by ensuring that claimant lawyers’ excessive legal fees are made more proportionate.”

The very notion of the insurance industry complaining about claimant lawyers worrying about the profits they make can only be described as hypocritical when you are being at the limit of politeness.

Over the past years there has been consistent proof that the ‘compensation culture’ that they have been pedalling is based on inaccurate data and there has also been research that suggests more of their profits since the Jackson Reforms could have gone back into reducing the price of road premiums, despite a steady reduction taking place.

Partner for Catastrophic Injury at Scott Rees & Co, Chris Walker, reacted to Mr Dalton’s comments, saying: “The insurance industry and most notably the ABI are once again displaying total ignorance to what the real problem here and that is not the costs of the solicitors who represent the claimants, it is the worrying numbers of employees who have been exposed to unacceptable noise levels to cause them to suffer from industrial deafness in the first place.”

“They are talking about curbing and cutting costs of those who help these genuine victims but make no reference to what really needs curbing or cutting and that is the level of noise pollution within the culpable work environments.”

“They talk about how this is ‘fast becoming a cash cow’ but it is the same sort of ignorance towards what is a very real and serious problem that has seen so many people come forward to make claims.”

“It is the legal industry’s duty to ensure that those who have been wronged in any way by an employer not fulfilling their duty of care know that they can claim compensation and do have a right to access to justice and sadly if this would not be the case if things were left to the insurers.”

“The real concern here of the insurance industry and the ABI,, is that by so many claims for industrial deafness finally being heard and therefore so many victims finally getting the chance to get the justice they deserve, they are worried that they will take a hit on the profits they have managed to save by pushing the small claims profession closer and closer to extinction.”

It is clear that once again the personal injury profession may have to get ready for a barrage of suggested reforms on this area of personal injury and as with what has been happening within small claims, it can be expected that the Government will accept what they have to say and target this area of law next for extreme cuts.