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Why we must support Ellman and the Transport Select Committee

Posted 09 March 2015 by Donna Scully

What an exciting final Fraud Charter meeting we had recently and a great culmination of the three previous gatherings and all the hard work that has gone into preparing the Fraud Report 2014.

The venue was packed, the agenda was busy, the report was unveiled and Louise Ellman MP, chairwoman of the Transport Select Committee (TSC), attended to give us its views on motor claims and fighting fraud better.

She explained that the committee began its work in this area in 2010 because members of the public were telling it that their motor premiums were too high. So its agenda was to look at the rising cost of motor insurance premiums. While she talked about how important it is to fight fraud more collaboratively, she added that the committee always had an eye to fairness too for the innocent accident victims who pay their premiums. Also on the committee’s agenda was ensuring that the genuine claimant gets a fair hearing. We all want that.

The committee has held oral hearings since 2010, calling evidence from parties on both sides of the fence, and has published four reports. It looks to be objective and ignore ‘self-interest’ on either side, and is only interested in fairness, she said, and the genuinely injured.

Ellman said she has huge concerns about cold-calling and why nothing can be done about it. She also said she is concerned that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 hasn’t got rid of referral fees and that is why she is so interested in alternative business structures. She hopes the plans to improve medical assessments will work, although she feared that it is being pushed through too quickly. She’d prefer to see it done well than rushed and messed up.

Ellman was strong on the need for both sides to share information more effectively. Indeed, the TSC told the Ministry of Justice this is what needed to be done and urged it to sort it out. We now know mandatory sharing of data will come into force in April next year as a result.

Ellman is concerned about the growth in psychological claims (those that are not genuine and only made to milk the system), and the rise of industrial deafness claims as the new ‘whiplash’.

She finished by reiterating that genuine people who suffer injury should be compensated and we must address the bad in the system, for example, fraud and bad practises, not access to justice.

She spoke a lot of sense.

A lot of hard work has been done fighting fraud so far and there is more to be done. Clearly there is a will to fight it collaboratively if you read the Fraud Report 2014, and we will see mandatory data sharing coming in next April. This sends a clear message to fraudsters – we are out to stop you ruining the system for everybody.

Donna Scully 28th November 2014

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