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News item: Insurers may give solicitors access to information on known fraudsters

May 14, 2012

A report in the Law Society Gazette on the 10th May revealed that insurers have indicated that they might be prepared to give in to recent demands by solicitors to pool information about documented fraudsters.

Personal injury solicitors have been pushing for insurers to provide them with a gateway to access records of individuals who have placed fraudulent claims. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is now compiling a register, which will be published later this year, and will detail all fraud records in one central database. There is a possibility that the register could be made more widely available, depending on data protection regulations.

A spokesperson for ABI said that they have a high interest in tackling fraud and they want to co operate with as many interested groups, including solicitors, as is possible

He also said that a group of people had been, for 18 months, working on compiling this register, aimed at keeping details of any known fraudsters. The next stage is determining how the information can be shared appropriately.

In April, ABI pointed out that there had been a rise in people claiming for whiplash injuries and that whiplash was a chosen method of being fraudulent.

At the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ conference in April there was a call for the insurance industry to share any available records. Karl Tonks, APL president, said it was a frustrating situation when insurers show reluctance to share any available information with their industry as they want to know about possible fraudulent claims.

He could not see any reason why insurers would not share this type of information with solicitors as fraudulent claims could be then stamped out saving unnecessary costs.

Tonks referred to a past legal incident with a client who, to begin with, seemed to be quite genuine but it was later discovered he had made numerous false claims. The insurers in that situation refused to release any information that would have supported a fraudulent claim, even though they had the evidence.

Tonks said that both insurers and lawyers should both be focussing on getting rid of fraudulent activity in their industries.