Readers with long memories may recall that, just before taking over as editor of Insurance Times, I broke my nose playing rugby. The squeamish among your should stop reading now because what follows is the detail.
With some crunching and grinding, I reshaped my nose back from the flat and bent-to-the-left mush it had become into something resembling its former glory.
Back at our clubhouse, an A&E nurse who captains one of our other teams, slipped his little finger up my left nostril and pushed what passed as the bridge of my nose the final millimetre or so to make it as straight as possible. He then suggested I contact my doctor after a few days, when the swelling had gone down.
After a brief examination and my explanation of events, the doctor sat back and, before making a diagnosis, asked if I was planning to sue anyone. Once I had explained that I felt a broken nose (and my broken leg a few years previous) was part and parcel of playing rugby so, no, I wouldn't be suing anyone (nor claiming on my personal accident insurance), he announced that my nose was fine and I didn't need an operation.
I got the distinct impression that, had I answered yes, I would have been whisked into hospital for an operation and advised to take several days off work.
This is the culture that is being encouraged by the ambulance-chasing solicitors and by firms such as Claims Direct. Abbey Legal Protection is about to join the ranks of firms out to "help" those injured to claim against those allegedly responsible for the injuries.
Insurers must accept some of the blame. The ABI's code of conduct for handling claims has been delayed time and again as member companies insisted on it being watered down. That sends out a message to potential claimants that they are dealing with cowboys and might be best advised to hire a gunslinger of their own.
But the claims assistance industry is piling on the costs, which are added to everyone's premiums. It's time to give them a bloody nose.