One of the benefits of being a member of MASS is for individual law firms to have a voice and be represented in discussions with decision makers.
Through our extensive knowledge and experience, MASS is widely recognised as being the ‘leading authority’ in all aspects of RTA law and claims handling. Consequently we are regularly invited to meetings and discussions with the Ministry of Justice and other relevant authorities including the Transport Select Committee, Civil Justice Committee and Solicitors Regulation Authority.
To support our campaigns we are frequently asked for information, statistics and evidence. Accordingly we look to our membership for assistance – the importance of which cannot be underestimated. The type of things we will look for include:
• Costs information
• Claims settlements
• Individual case examples
• Support with local MP lobbying.
Over the years MASS has lobbied and campaigned, not only on behalf of the victims of RTAs, but also their representatives. In addition to the obvious legal changes that have taken place recently, some of the other issues we are actively campaigning on include:
Fraud benefits no-one and, for a number of years, MASS has been actively campaigning for a collaborative approach and for the whole industry to work together to combat fraud, sending out a strong message that it will not be tolerated.
In October 2011 MASS instigated an industry wide discussion forum (including the Police, Insurance Fraud Bureau and National Fraud Authority) to openly examine the main issues surrounding fraud within the claims process and whether the industry can work together to address them. One of the areas that MASS believes could help significantly is the exchange of information at an early stage between insurers and claimant solicitors, where fraudulent behaviour is suspected or where fraud has been detected. Whilst progress has been slow, MASS is in discussions with the Association of British Insurers to see what can be developed in this area.
With fraud recently being brought to the fore following the Government’s consultation on fraudulent whiplash claims, MASS is even more determined to ensure that the industry takes the necessary steps to work together to detect and deter the opportunistic fraudster.
Small Claims limit
Since 1991 MASS has been fighting against the rise in the small claims limit for personal injury claims, believing it is unfair and unjust for the accident victim and their access to independent legal advice.
During the many times this issue has been (and continues to be) raised, between 2005-2007 we were particularly successful through informing and deterring the Government from raising the limit through numerous meetings and discussions. This was supported significantly when we handed a petition of 30,000 letters of support from accident victims to 10 Downing Street.
Once again we are campaigning against Government proposals to raise the small claims limit for personal injury claims. This time we have had significant success in raising awareness amongst MPs of all parties, informing them of the significant consequences that will occur and the devastating impact that such a policy will have on access to justice.
Third Party Capture
MASS has long campaigned for this practice to be banned. We strongly believe that the practice of insurers contacting the claimant direct and actively encourage them to settle their claim quickly and without seeking independent legal advice is not only unregulated but wrong, potentially having detrimental effects on the accident victim and their right to justice.
We have, and continue to do so, campaigned to the Financial Services Authority (now Financial Conduct Authority), insurers and the Ministry of Justice that this practice is unfair and unjust and should be banned. Whilst we have not achieved this as yet, we believe, at the very least, this practice should be regulated, as the current regulations for insurers do not include any reference to minimum standards when dealing direct with the third party (claimant) direct.