You are here

Ban cold calling for PI claims, says APIL

Time to consider practical solutions that can tackle fraud without raising barriers to genuine claims

7 March 2016

Add comment

Banning cold calls for personal injury claims will curb fraud and restore credibility to the claims sector, the insurance industry has been told.

Speaking at the Motor Insurance Summit today, the chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), Deborah Evans, told delegates that an end to cold calling was essential in re-establishing integrity to the marketplace and safeguarding against fraudulent claims.

'The practice of cold calling by claims management companies is widely hated by the man on the street. To put an end to it could restore some credibility and respect to the claims industry and stop the dishonest and impressionable few from thinking it is standard practice to make a claim for an injury they do not have,' she said.

'There are practical solutions to tackling fraud and reducing the number of claims without installing barriers for people who are genuinely injured.'

Last year, the government announced a clamp down on companies that cold call members of the public.

More than 175,000 complaints were made to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in 2015 about nuisance calls and text messages.

The industry's watchdog has come down hard on rogue claims management firms over recent months. The Claims Management Regulator (CMR) fined the Hearing Clinic £220,000 after hundreds of complaints of cold calls about claims for noise induced hearing loss.

Another such firm was hit with a £850,000 fine following a 'sustained' bombardment of nuisance calls late last year.

Lancashire-based National Advice Clinic made nearly 6 million calls between October 2014 and April 2015 about noise induced hearing loss claims.

A selection of leading law firms recently signed up to a new charter designed to eradicate unethical marketing practices in PI sector.

A total of 50 organisations signed up to the Ethical Marketing Charter, pledging never to cold call, text or email, engage in the unethical buying of accident data, nor use misleading advertising.

Major firms, such as Bindmans, Hodge Jones & Allen, and Irwin Mitchell, are among the signatories and the charter has received backing from the CMR and the Legal Ombudsman.

Presenting his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons last November, George Osborne announced plans to crack down on the 'fraud and claims culture' in the personal injury sector so that the industry could pass on saving to motorists.

At the time, APIL's president, Jonathan Wheeler, argued that raising the small claims limit would lead to an 'epidemic of cold calling' from claims management companies rushing to take advantage of vulnerable people unable to afford legal representation.

Categorised in:

Funding & Costs