Is the fight against fraud set to suffer?

Past cross-industry initiatives have demonstrated that so much more can be achieved by collaboration and dialogue than conflict and division. No area is this more so than combating fraud. It is only by working together that we can change the perception that fraud is a victimless crime. Whilst we have had our bad eggs, the overwhelming majority of claimant solicitors have shared the goal of eradicating fraudulent claims and have played a crucial role in the process, providing the first screen of checks to weed out suspect claims. Unfortunately, this role will be undermined in the new claims process by financially discouraging the use of solicitors.

If the new system allows we can continue to work together in other ways. Since being established, the current Claims Portal since 2010 and MedCo since 2015 have each had a balanced board of representatives from across the sector and an independent chairperson. These volunteer claimant representatives have served on the boards of both organisations enabling them to develop solutions and resolve problems. This cross-sector representation has been vital to ensure that the claims process remains fair and justice is retained for the accident victim and their representatives. It has greatly contributed to the fight against fraud, helping to develop new initiatives, such as AskCUE, and enhance the anti-fraudulent processes undertaken.

Regrettably, this collaboration is under threat. With only months to go until launch, the MoJ has still not put forward plans for the established practice of having an independent board responsible for oversight and governance for the new Portal service. The interpretation of the data from the new service, for instance, the crucial difference between suspected and proven fraud, will entirely be down to the insurance industry and MoJ alone. This cannot be right. The recognised principles of corporate governance should be followed by the new service from the outset. Combating fraud was of course one of the key reasons for the reforms, which is why the absence of anti-fraud checks built into the new OIC is so disappointing. The fight against fraud is one of the key areas that will suffer if claimant representatives are deliberately excluded from the new system, sadly undermining all the hard work that has been done collaboratively by the sector over the past few years.

Is the fight against fraud set to suffer?Is the fight against fraud set to suffer?Paul Nicholls, author of ‘Is the fight against fraud set to suffer?’ is Chair of Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) and Senior Partner at Nicholls Brimble Bhol Solicitors.

This article appeared in Modern Insurance Magazine Issue 45.

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