Insurers will reopen the thorny issues of the small claims track and fixed fees for deafness claims with the next government.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) published its top 10 priorities yesterday with a week to go until the general election.
A key element of the wish-list is to ‘modernise’ the civil justice system so that compensation goes to ‘claimants rather than lawyers’.
This would mean an increase in the small claims track limit for personal injury claims and considering a reduction in the three-year limit to claim for injury following a car accident.
The ABI also reiterated its desire to see fixed legal fees to address what it described as the rise in industrial deafness claims, and to ensure people suffering from asbestos-related conditions ‘get compensation quicker’.
Another of the themes is a ‘crackdown’ on the behaviour of claims management companies. This would require claims managers to comply with a ‘more robust regulatory regime on a par with solicitors’.
Few of the priorities will come as a surprise to solicitors, but they indicate the likelihood of heated debate over the coming years about the extent to which civil justice needs further reform.
The ABI called last year for fixed fees in noise-induced hearing loss claims after saying that the number of such claims has risen from 1,000 in March 2012 to 3,500 in March 2014.
Insurers’ wish for the small claims limit to rise from £1,000 to £5,000 – effectively removing claimant solicitors from the process for cases of this value – was denied to them last year when the government ruled out a change.
The ABI’s director general, Huw Evans, said the organisation wants a role in informing and helping to shape policy whichever government comes to power after 7 May.
‘Insurers are crucial to a healthy economy and society, helping people cope with the unexpected and save for their retirement. The UK insurance industry is a global leader, but we need to continue to innovate to meet the challenges of our fast-changing world and meet ever-increasing customer needs.’