Miles Hepworth of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers says a harder line is needed on claims management firms
Insurance lawyers are calling on claims management firms to be identified when representing someone making a claim to reduce the number of fraudulent cases that get followed up.
Miles Hepworth, member of the joint fraud sector focus team at the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), and partner at DWF, said recent judgements had shown courts were taking a hard line on claimants who lie about becoming ill on holiday.
He praised this move and the effect it was having on reducing the number of gastric illness claims.
But he said more needed to be done about the claims management firms who bring the claims forward.
He said: “There is more that can be done in dealing with those who are behind such claims farming, not only in respect of gastric illness but in motor and casualty insurance claims too.
“Too often these claims are run for the benefit of someone other than the claimant.
”I look forward to seeing more decisions where those people – the claims management companies, the medico legal professionals who provide expert opinion based on no objective evidence whatsoever, the lawyers paying referral fees – start to feel the sting of successful defences.”
Hepworth said the claimant’s representatives should be identified, and their involvement in the claim made clear from the outset.
In April, the government pledged to fix legal costs in package holiday sickness claims.
But until a harder line is taken on claims management firms, Hepworth said he feared for smaller tour operators dealing with fraudulent claims.
He added: “Whilst some of the larger tour operators have made significant inroads in the defence of these claims a future risk may face smaller outfits who may suddenly find themselves facing such claims though the advent of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.
“It is essential that they know what to expect and how to deal with these claims”.