Secrets and lies – The dysfunctional car insurance meerkat (and other animals)

Secrets and lies - The dysfunctional car insurance meerkat (and other animals)

BBC Images

Monday’s Dispatches investigation on Channel 4, presented by Harry Wallop certainly packed a punch and was a welcome riposte to the insurance lobby’s PR deluge of misinformation, miscreancy and mendacity.

We hope it is the first of many broadsides in the fight to redress the balance in favour of the British public’s entirely reasonable expectation to be treated fairly by some of the world’s largest corporations.

Not much to ask you would think but these guys have had it their own way for so long now and have so successfully weasled their way into government circles that they are setting the insurance agenda for all of us. A concerted effort by the concerned is required NOW to identify the real villains of the piece and the true insurance scammers operating in this dysfunctional market.

In our opinion this documentary was a good first step because it exploded the myth that insurance companies are primarily concerned about us, their customers.

The film absolutely nailed the point that the insurance companies and accident management firms are only concerned about maximising their profit margins as they pressurise motorists to deal with their ‘approved’ body shops and pressurise the garages to carry out work at minimal cost., often using non-standard parts.

Now this would not in itself be such a problem if savings were shared between insurance companies and policy holders and work was carried out to a high standard but this does not happen…and our premiums go up and up.

Evidence from experienced people in the trade confirmed that the pressure insurance companies put on body shops to cut costs compromises the integrity of the damaged vehicle and the safety of the driver and their family.

The story gets worse.

If a driver is involved in a no-fault accident his/her insurance company will seek to max out the ‘value’ of the claim by shamelessly inflating the cost of the repairs and hitting the other side for all they are worth….and who pays for this?

Correct. We do every day.

Whilst the insurance companies are busy portraying themselves as ‘holier than thou’ and the nation’s protectors of the vulnerable, they are busily scamming the market for every penny they can extract from supplier rebates and other kickbacks and exploiting their customers without any regard to the principles of good business practice, far less business ethics.

The insurance companies then have the bare-faced audacity to stuff their own pockets with all this extra ‘bunce’ and then claim that innocent accident victims who have the temerity to claim compensation are responsible for the hike in premiums which the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) states are inflated to the tune of at least £250m per annum by the industry’s own malpractices.

Their underhand tactics have thankfully not gone completely unnoticed. The OFT has announced that it will be investigating the insurance market, despite the best efforts of a toadying government to foster the myth of a compensation culture and agree to virtually everything the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has demanded in recent years.

In typical weasel word fashion, as befits its modus operandi, the ABI claims that it welcomes an investigation. Aye right, we’ll see…as we live in hope.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the ABI to explain why its members are paying out on claims known to be fraudulent.

If a claim is known to be fraudulent why does the industry not take action to prosecute the fradusters? The conclusion must be that the insurance companies are spending a hefty chunk of our car insurance premiums on fraudulent claims. Perhaps the ABI’s Nick Starling can explain why this SCANDAL is allowed to go on unchecked.

Could it be that there are far fewer fraudulent claims than suits the ABI position and that the creation of the ‘bogeyman’ of an insurance fraudster is a very useful whipping boy when it comes to peddling lies about whiplash claims and the impact on premiums?

We will be asking the OFT to look at this matter very closely…and checking with Harry Wallop to see if he is planning to look at the government’s and the insurance industry’s perverse approach to dealing with personal injury claims.

Written by Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law.