Motor insurance giant Aviva has called for solicitors to be forced to declare the means by which personal injury clients are obtained. The insurer says the 'lucrative nature' of selling claims leads has given rise to a black market for car accident data, allowed in part by a lack of transparency.
In a statement posted on its own website, Aviva suggests the ban on solicitors paying referral fees for claims is not working, as lead generators simply circumvent the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act which brought in the restriction.
When asked to declare the source of their claims leads when submitting a claim, Aviva says lawyers have the option of ‘prefer not to say’ – defeating the object of the referral fee ban.
Andrew Morrish, claims director for Aviva UK general insurance, said: ‘Transparency and trust must be at the heart of the claims process, and this starts at the very beginning. Our proposal of one simple action – that solicitors declare the introducer of their claims lead – would prevent them from either knowingly or unknowingly using leads which have been obtained without consent.'
The extra regulation, it was suggested, could be built into the Ministry of Justice’s new IT portal for RTA claims under £5,000, with monitoring and compliance should be overseen by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, who should work in conjunction with the FCA, the regulator for the claims management sector.
Aviva says its research, based on a survey of 2,000 adults in September 2019, shows 70% of British people had received a nuisance call or text in the previous week, with more than a third of those people saying this was a daily occurrence.
In the vast majority of cases, Aviva claims, recipients of cold calls have given legal consent to be contacted.
Morrish added: ‘It is frankly shocking that the claims sector can blatantly and consistently break the law by not securing the necessary consumer consent before contacting them about an injury claim or other issue.
‘CMCs and so-called lead generators are making a mockery of the current regulation and legislation designed to protect consumers.’
Aviva has consistently been one of the most vocal advocates of reforms to tighten rules around the personal injury sector. The government has given no indication it is considering forcing solicitors to disclose the source of referrals.