Insurance Times published a letter from me on September 5 1996. The points raised seem more pertinent now that “Claims Assessors (are to be) put under the microscope” (Insurance Times, August 5, 1999).

In my letter I said “Assessors charge a percentage for recovering special damages and should stick to that only. They should not become involved in personal injury... which is best left to the specialists,” by which, of course, I meant solicitors.

After my letter was published, I got phone calls from other assessors telling me I was wrong. If you'd heard some of the conversations regarding business practice you'd have been shocked.

I believe there's a role for the claims assessor in accidental-damage claims below the arbitration limit, especially in my field, small fleet/ commercial operators. All personal-injury cases that I come across are recommended to and passed over to solicitors under an after-the-event legal-expenses scheme.

I have a proposal. In the past, certain motor syndicates have refused to deal with assessors who have practised in a shoddy way, perhaps by blatantly inventing evidence. This is a step in the right direction.

If insurers could be empowered by the findings of the committee set up to investigate the claims-assessing industry to refuse to deal with assessors where they are pursuing injury cases, it would put the bad apples out of business overnight.
Tim Willcocks
Willcocks & Company
claims assessors