One of the country’s biggest claims management companies has more than halved the number of firms on its panel in response to the referral fee ban, the Gazette can reveal.

National Accident Helpline, which passes on around 70,000 claims a year, has cut its panel from more than 100 firms to just 47.

Speaking as the anniversary of the referral fee ban approaches, managing director Russell Atkinson said the cut was a deliberate strategy reflecting a changed environment. ‘We have gone for a smaller panel with a larger proportion of large firms which work closely with us,’ he said.

Atkinson said around one-third of the 100,000 enquiries to NAH each year are not passed on to firms, with a higher threshold now in place for cases that are likely to succeed.

Despite many analysts predicting the end of ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements, it remains part of the contractual agreement between NAH and its panel firms, he said.