Who would have thought it? The Legal Services Board (LSB) has voted against a ban on referral fees.
The LSB, a supposedly independent body that oversees the regulation of lawyers in the country, has at least three practising lawyers on its board of 10. Are they really the right people to make this decision?
The board claims that there is no evidence that referral fees do ‘actual or potential harm to consumers or the public interest’. Well done to them if they kept a straight face when they said that. As motor premiums continue to soar, drivers everywhere are feeling the pinch. The added, unnecessary cost of referral fees adds significantly to these premiums, meaning consumers are paying through the nose. In fact the only people to benefit from referral fees are – yes, you’ve guessed it – lawyers.
So the fight for a ban now moves to parliament, where the ABI will be spearheading the industry to apply pressure on ministers.
The industry would be in a much stronger position if it were whiter than white itself. And that means insurers stepping up to the government’s calls to publish full details of what they both make and spend on referral fees. Yes, there’s a risk of negative publicity, but if the industry sticks together, speaks honestly and promises reform, its case will gain a whole lot of weight.
Meanwhile, there is still plenty to celebrate in the world of claims – and we did so in style last week, at the inaugural Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards. The evening surpassed even our expectations, and provided a great opportunity to showcase talent and commitment in a sector that is all too often overlooked. We’ll be covering the event in full later this month - Click here for the full list of winners.