Transport Select Committee calls for action on whiplash claims

Transport Select Committee calls for action on whiplash claims

Source: Insurance Age | 04 Jul 2014


Committee issues fourth report on cost of motor insurance.

The Transport Select Committee (TSC) has demanded that the government ban insurers from settling whiplash claims before the claimant has undergone a medical examination.

The call came as the committee launched a report reviewing the government’s plans to tackle fraudulent and exaggerated motor insurance claims, particularly for whiplash injuries.

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the TSC, said: “While premiums are now falling, aspects of the market remain dysfunctional and have encouraged criminality to take root.

“Further action is still required to tackle fraud whilst protecting genuine claimants.”

Medical reports
Ellman also urged action on preventing abuses arising from Alternative Business Structures that allow solicitors to commission medical reports on whiplash and other soft tissue injuries from medical experts who are not genuinely independent.

She continued: “Solicitors must be banned from generating more work by offering inducements, such as cash or tablet computers, to encourage people to make a claim.”

On issues of court procedure and medical panels the committee endorsed the government’s plan to get courts to strike out “dishonest” insurance claims – such as those involving gross exaggeration – but cautioned against hasty legislation due to the complex legal implications.

Data sharing
The committee called for data sharing about potentially fraudulent claims between insurers and claimant solicitors to be made compulsory rather than voluntary and urged the government to oversee funding arrangements for the police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, to make sure the unit, currently funded directly by the insurance industry, has a long-term future.

In addition it advised the government to press the Solicitors Regulation Authority to “stop some solicitors from playing the system to maximise their income by commissioning unnecessary psychological evaluations”.

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