Government announces programme to tackle insurance fraud in 2015

Article

07 January, 2015

Chris Grayling the Lord Chancellor has announced plans to combat personal insurance fraud in 2015. Chris Grayling described the reforms as "much needed" and commented that whilst "the Government accepts that many personal injury claims are genuine, it is also clear that there are far too many speculative, exaggerated or even outright fraudulent claims being made."

Claims Fraud Task Force

The government has created a new claims fraud taskforce. The new taskforce will be headed by David Hertzell and will address three main issues:

  • First, the perception that insurance is 'fair game' and that making a fraudulent claim is a legitimate way to make some money.
  • Second, it will investigate if there are there any practices which fail to deter insurance claims fraud.
  • Third, it will investigate if any aspects of the current legal framework could be strengthened to prevent claims fraud.

It is anticipated that the first interim findings will be reported in March.

Medco

The Government also announced a new system for obtaining medical reports in whiplash claims which will go live on 1 April 2015. A new independent IT portal called Medco, will randomly allocate medical experts or medical reporting organisations to users requiring medical reports. It is designed to ensure that medical experts and organisations are allocated in a "fair, independent and transparent way".

The new system will also require that all experts wishing to produce medical reports for whiplash claims are accredited to ensure that all medical reports meet minimum quality standards. The new regime which will inevitably seek to break the links between experts and law firms is welcomed by both defendants and insurers.

Forbes Comment

The Government's proposals are undoubtedly a step in the right direction in the fight against insurance fraud, combined with the introduction of new legislation which will allow a Court to dismiss a claim in its entirety where the Claimant has been "fundamentally dishonest" in relation to any aspect of the claim, data sharing, a statutory ban on the offer of inducements by lawyers in personal injury cases and fixed cost medical reports.

We await the interim findings of the Claims Fraud Taskforce in March with interest. It is hoped that there is sufficient financial and political backing to implement any realistic recommendations proposed by the taskforce.

For further information contact Chris Booth by email or on 01254 222452

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