The insurance industry has led calls for drastic reforms to the compensation claims industry which would consider claims for industrial deafness compensation in the same way as whiplash is dealt with.
Combating fraudulent claims
Head of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, Ben Fletcher, raised concerns that gangs of organised insurance fraudsters were turning their attention to different types of injury claims. The Insurance Fraud Bureau, which is funded by UK insurance companies, said that they were lacking a comprehensive strategy to combat insurance fraud apart from motor claims.
Problems with fraudulent claims in the whiplash claims industry have led to insurers campaigning for a raft of reforms to the way claims are handled such as the introduction of independent whiplash panels, banning the offering of incentives in personal injury cases, and increased powers for the courts to deal with claimants who have been found to be less than honest. Fees paid to claims companies acting on low-value claims have also been drastically reduced.
Fraudsters switching from whiplash onto industrial deafness claims
The Association of British Insurers suggested recently that fraudsters may be switching compensation claims from whiplash onto industrial deafness, and said that the industry was set to respond to this with similar reforms as have been seen for whiplash claims.
Ben Fletcher told a recent industry conference that instead of focusing on just making fraud more difficult, there should be stronger legislation and processes to fight it. He agreed that progress had indeed been made on fraudulent whiplash claims, but said that the occupational disease compensation arena was likely to be the next target for the criminal gangs.
Detective Chief Inspector David Wood, head of the specialist police squad set up three years ago to lead the fight against insurance fraud said that the number of cases being investigated is on the rise – 300 every year compared with 114 just three years ago. Chief Inspector Wood’s team now comprises 29 detectives, and their work has led to 98 convictions so far. In the past, the Police team has focused on fraud in credit hire agreements, but now turning their attention to fraudulent personal injury claims.