“Ambulance chasing lawyers and some claims management firms encouraging a ‘have a go’ compensation culture” – James Dalton, Head of Motor and Liability for the Association of British Injurers (ABI) – 2013
The above quote was taken shortly after launch of the Law Society’s ‘Don’t get mugged by an insurer – use a solicitor’ campaign, which was much maligned by the insurance industry.
This week the insurance industry may well have been left with egg on their faces, thanks to revelations that one of their biggest companies, Admiral, made £6m profit in their first full financial year of trading since the referral fee ban, through its legal arms, which were set up to, wait for it… dodge the ban on selling customers details to claims firms.
That’s right, through Admiral Law (£4.3million profit) and BDE (£1.8million profit), Admiral insurance has managed to completely bypass the ban on selling details on to claims firms.
Hypocrisy Thy Name
In this case, hypocrisy is certainly the nature of Admiral’s business plan, especially when you consider the amount of lobbying the ABI have done, to try and drive legal representation out of the small claims court in particular.
Recently it was announced by the insurance profession that there would be a hike on car insurance premiums, due to the number of personal injury claims, most notably for whiplash, increasing, and that this was the fault of personal injury lawyers encouraging claims.
What they failed to mention is that companies within their own ranks, such as Admiral, are making a tidy profit out of the increase in personal injury claims themselves, and although they have not broken any laws, it certainly has to raise further questions over the need for an increase in car insurance premiums to cover the apparent losses.
The practice of handling their own claims has also, without a doubt, driven personal injury solicitors from our high streets by taking away work.
Scott Rees and Co Partner, David Byrne, criticised the recent calls for premium price increases and criticised the insurance industry, saying: “It is clear that there has only really been one winner when it comes to the introduction of LASPO and the referral fee ban and that is the insurance industry.”
“The practice of setting up their own law arms to handle personal injury claims has taken away work from the personal injury profession and forced many high street firms to close their doors, because the work is no longer attainable.”
“At the same time they have long campaigned against the rise in personal injury claims being made, particularly road traffic accident, yet at the same time they have been quite happy to reap the profits from the increase, whilst gaining from the additional benefit of hiking insurance premiums because of the apparent increase in claims.”
“As a result of this greed, the personal injury profession has been decimated by needless, restrictive reforms, accident victims are finding it harder to get high quality and affordable representation and the insurance paying consumer are being left out of pocket by escalating premium prices.”
It is no secret that the Government are backed largely by the insurance industry and it would seem that they have returned this backing by allowing them to create a monopoly on the personal injury profession, that seems to be continuously growing, year on year.
A spokesperson from Admiral, told the Daily Mail that they don’t sell customer data and have never done so. However, they went on to admit that if one of their policyholders has a non-fault accident and sufferers and any uninsured losses then, only with their consent, they would put them in touch with one of their law firms, a process that David Byrne says affectively amounts to the same thing.
“To say that they only pass on details with the consent of their client and that they don’t sell claims is ludicrous. They know that they will profit through a success fee should that client’s personal injury claim be successful and they also know that that these claims coming in, juxtaposed with the ABI’s ridiculous rhetoric that there is a compensation culture, will also boost their profits through the inevitable increase in insurance premiums that will follow.”
“One thing I will agree with is that there is a problematic culture within the profession of personal injury claims, but it is not through the alleged encouragement of fraudulent claims by personal injury lawyers, which is what the ABI would have you believe”
“What is causing the real damage within our profession is the ‘profits come first and who cares who it affects’ culture of the insurers. It is this way of thinking that is restricting accident victims of their access to justice and, at the same time, it is also what is hammering motorists in their pockets during a time of austerity, through increased insurance premiums.”
Have you suffered a personal injury as a result of a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault? Scott Rees and Co are personal injury specialists who can help you claim the compensation you need to help with your recover.