A group campaigning for the personal injury sector has spoken out for the first time over the rising surge of holiday sickness claims.
A2J, a vocal advocate for firms and opponent of the last incarnation of PI reforms, said it is now time for those within the industry to report those suspected of malpractice.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is already probing the affairs of more than a dozen firms involved in the burgeoning industry, while the Foreign Office is explicitly warning holiday-makers heading to Spain not to be tempted into making an exaggerated or fraudulent claim.
The Independent newspaper's travel correspondent Simon Calder reported last week false holiday sickness claims are ‘out of control’ as touts target tourist hotspots and encourage them to seek compensation.
Andrew Twambley, spokesman for A2J, said its members were ‘sick and tired of touts, but equally sick of law firms that are happy to take on claims knowing that they are fake, which brings the whole industry into disrepute’. He added: ‘We need collective action to help the SRA address any firms that are acting in this way, by providing the information to get claimant law firms exposed, and investigated by the regulator.’
It is the first time a voice from the claimant PI sector has publically spoken out against elements of the industry that may be involved in encouraging false claims. Tour operators have, as would be expected, been a constant critic of the growing claims industry.
Twambley said the new government must take greater action over cold calling and implement the recommendations of the Insurance Fraud Taskforce, which said the SRA should be empowered to take a ‘tougher approach’ to combatting fraud, taking more evidence from insurers about claimant firms suspected of abuses.
He added: ‘We need to help the SRA help the sector. The public has made clear they want an end to cold calling and claims touting, and all of us, law firms, insurers, travel operators and regulators, are responsible for making that happen and shoring up public trust in the system. We also need insurers, travel operators and law enforcement agencies to take a much more aggressive approach to prosecutions.’