Faye Fishlock, head of defendant insurance services at Carpenters Group tells Insurance Times why collaboration is key to whiplash reforms
June’s Fraud Charter meeting was the first I have attended. I have spoken recently about the need for our industry to collaborate, now more than ever, and it was great to see this happening in practice around our virtual table. There was engagement from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Insurance Fraud Bureau, ABI, claimant and defendant legal representatives, as well as the wider industry. Hopefully a sign of greater things to come.
You will have read here in Insurance Times about our work at Carpenters Group in lobbying for technology firms like Google to have greater responsibility for the adverts they host because of issues like spoofing.
This is where claims management companies (CMCs) or lead generation firms buy adverts to appear in search results for phrases like ‘Aviva claims number’. As a result, the customer is often unaware they are using the costly services of a CMC instead of speaking to their own insurer. We have spoken to ministers at the Department for Business as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on this issue.
We also recently met with the head of online advertising at DCMS, who is delivering a piece of work looking to tackle fraud and spoofing – most welcome news. We will continue to lobby on this issue.
At the Fraud Charter event we also discussed the impact of Covid-19 and that ‘crash for cash’ scams are still alive and well despite a fall in traffic due to the pandemic and lockdowns. Given that levels of traffic continue to increase and are now at, or above, pre-pandemic levels, it will be interesting to see how this translates into crash for cash scams.
Particularly, given the changing nature of peak travel from weekday commutes to weekend leisure and staycation trips, which is likely to be the case for a few months. No meeting would be complete without a discussion of the implementation of whiplash reforms.
At the time of the meeting, just over a week post-implementation, there was a wariness about the smaller than anticipated volumes of claims coming through the portal. Was this the intended consequence of the reforms or due to niggles around new software being introduced and everyone maybe not being as ready as they might have liked?
Volumes have increased since, but it is still too early to draw any conclusions about trends. I noted at the meeting that exceptional circumstances seemed to be claimed on the majority, rather than the minority, of claims and that seems to have continued.
What was most welcome was how keen David Parkin from the MoJ was in collating feedback from across the industry on how the Official Injury Claim portal is working and emerging themes and trends.
It was accepted by all that fine-tuning will be required and that much-desired collaboration will be the key to ensuring the industry together achieves the aims of the reforms.