Insurers agree access to claims database
For years insurance companies have been building and utilising a database to combat the scourge of fraudulent compensation claims. This database contains detailed intelligence on all personal injury compensation claims made, to include the details of claimant’s, witnesses, vehicles, accident locations and claim types. It is used to identify serial claimants and to spot patterns which might assist in identifying fraud rings or criminal groups.
For over 4 years organisations such as the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (of which we are founder members) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (of which 4 of our partners and consultants are members) have campaigned on behalf of claimant solicitors for access to the database. It is argued that access will assist solicitors to identify dishonest claims before they begin and help to prevent fraudulent claims entering the process. City of London Police estimate that motor insurance fraud costs the UK insurance market up to £1billion each year. Fraud undermines the vast majority of honest claimants who make entirely justified and reasonable claims following accidents resulting from the negligence of others.
For some years insurers have denied solicitors access to the database, but without giving reasons. They have now bowed to pressure and from 1st June 2015 the service will be mandatory, with every solicitor having to check a new client’s details against the database and demonstrate to the insurer that they have done so.
Only approved organisations, such as experienced personal injury solicitors, will be allowed to use the service. The will be a cost to law firms to do so. This cost will be absorbed and will not be passed on to clients. It is felt a small price to pay to help limit the scope and reach of the dishonest claimant to the benefit of the genuine claimant.
We have acted for many tens of thousands of clients over the past 30 years and have recovered tens of millions of pounds in damages. More importantly we have significantly contributed to materially improving the lives of a large number of people who have found themselves in immeasurable physical and financial difficulty as a result of an accident which they did not contribute to or cause. It is crucial that the selfish acts of the dishonest minority are not permitted to impact upon the rights and entitlements of the genuinely needy.
Paul Lewis, Partner and Head of Accident ManagementGeorge Ide