Insurers today called for reforms similar to those imposed on whiplash claims to counter growing fraudulent claims involving industrial deafness.
Ben Fletcher, head of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, told a conference today that organised criminal gangs are moving onto new types of injury claims.
Fletcher said the bureau, which is funded by the insurance industry, had yet to come up with a proper strategy for dealing with fraud outside of motor claims.
Insurers have successfully lobbied the government for a set of reforms, including independent whiplash panels, a pending ban on inducements for personal injury, and new powers for courts to refuse compensation for claimants who have been dishonest.
Fixed fees have also been slashed for claimant solicitors acting in low-value claims.
The Association of British Insurers has already suggested that industrial deafness is the new ‘cash cow’ replacing whiplash – and it appears the insurance industry has set its sights on a similar reform agenda.
‘We need a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to fighting fraud, not hindering it,’ Fletcher told an Association of British Insurers conference in London.
‘We’ve made a lot of headway on whiplash but other organised fraudsters are emerging… other reforms in the PI space should be encouraged in occupational disease.’
Meanwhile, DCI David Wood, head of the City of London Police team set up in 2011 to tackle insurance fraud, said more than 300 cases are being investigated every year – compared with 114 three years ago.
Wood said 29 detectives are now assigned to the team, which has secured 98 convictions in total. The team has previously targeted credit hire fraud and has an operation planned to target fraud involving personal injury claims.