Have you been receiving phone calls from random people offering to help with you claim for a ‘recent accident’?
With the announcement by George Osborne that the Government intends to clamp down on bogus injury claims, it is expected that we will see an increase in the number of contacts from claims management companies.
The Chancellor wants to end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries by 2017. This move is welcomed by the insurance industry as well as the news that the small claims limit for personal injury will rise to £5,000 to discourage use of lawyers.
One of the most common personal injuries people claim compensation for is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways, often as a result of a road traffic accident.
More than 1,500 whiplash claims are made in the UK every day, costing the insurance industry more than £2 billion a year – and adding £90 to the average annual motor insurance premium.
Personal injury claims, and their associated legal fees, are continually rising. This has led to increasing costs for insurers, and more expensive insurance premiums for consumers.
Road accidents fell by 30% between 2005 and 2013 but over the same period the number of injury claims leapt by 62% with more than 8 out of 10 relating to whiplash or soft tissue injury. This is more than double that of any other EU country.
Only 45% of these claims come directly from policy holders: the rest come through lawyers or claims-management companies aiming to take a share of the £2bn a year whiplash pot.
The huge amounts of money involved have generated an industry dedicated to managing such claims and a person who has had an accident is a valuable commodity. When you make a claim to your insurance company you should ensure that you tick the box relating to the passing on of your details to third parties. Much of the data is sold on to claim companies so that they can attempt to make a claim on your behalf.
Higher premiums are one example of the way the claims culture is affecting consumers, there has been a vast increase in the number of complaints made to the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding annoying unsolicited calls offering to make a claim on your behalf.
Hopefully the Government plans to clampdown on such fraudulent or hopeful claims will benefit us all with lower premiums and fewer nuisance calls.
Have you had these calls at home, if so how have you dealt with them? Ed.