The announcement that legislation will be introduced to require the courts to dismiss in its entirety any personal injury claim where it is satisfied that the claimant has been dishonest is yet another attempt by the government to ramp up the myth of a fraud problem.
That’s the view of Thompsons Solicitors, which is campaigning to make the insurance industry more accountable to the public and transparent about its profits.
The new measures announced by the Ministry of Justice this week are billed as an attempt to put an end to ‘insurance fraud’ and have, as expected, been warmly welcomed by the insurance industry body, the ABI, who have been particularly vocal about ‘compensation culture’ and ‘whiplash fraud’.
Figures don’t stack up’
However, as Thompsons Solicitors recently pointed, the ABI’s statistics purporting to be evidence of the existence of a ‘fraud epidemic’ simply do not stack up, especially given that in motor claims, just 85 people have been prosecuted since 2011.
This latest announcement appears to be yet another example of the government’s willingness to feed into the insurance industry’s attempts to create a false impression of a crisis. This is beneficial to shareholders, but it ultimately leads to genuine claimants finding their access to justice further restricted.
Government is acting as a mouthpiece
Tom Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Thompsons Solicitors, said:
“The endless focus on fraud, which, in reality make up a tiny proportion of all claimants, is further evidence of the government aping whatever the insurers decide is the theme of the moment. Fraud is totally in the hands of the insurers - they say they can spot it so they can stop it by refusing to pay those claims.
“What other matter that affects less than 1% of the business of private companies has ever taken up this much government attention? The government is doing the insurance industry’s bidding to an extraordinary degree, even including their comments as part of its press releases - acting as its mouthpiece and, by ramping up the myth of a growing fraud problem, enabling it to paper over ‘little’ issues like access to justice and fair compensation. How much are insurers paying in political donations for this?”