Today’s featured ‘marketing collective’, with an East Kilbride ‘operation’.
Apparently, a few days ago, in the mythical land of Oz, the AXA man (distant relation to the Tin man) and the Straw man presented a wizard idea to an invited audience. ‘There is no such thing as whiplash’, they declared, ‘even if it existed, which it doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt. If you think something might be wrong and if you hurry, you can see one of our approved doctors over in Munchkin Land who will tell you how to get back to work asap. Naturally, the Wizard will not be paying compensation under any circumstances – premiums are high enough around here, what with accidents happening every day.’
Thus, at a stroke, Djanogly kicked into touch the key finding of Lord Young’s 2010 report on the Compensation Culture (see our other blog posts) i.e. that there is no compensation culture (page 26 of the report) – it is the figment of the popular press’ imagination, aided and abetted by the insurance industry.
Mr. Straw, the Labour MP for Blackburn, said the scandal was hitting ‘perfectly law-abiding people’ with sky-high insurance costs…
and what about the perfectly law-abiding people who will find their access to justice cut off?
Mr. Straw, whose own investigation (bit of a ‘cult of Jack’ going on here) into how even the police are taking tip-fees, prompted the select committee to re-open its earlier enquiry, said: ‘What I am clear about is that of a total of about £9billion premium income, £2billion is costs caused by people who can be accurately be classed as the parasites in the system.
How is he clear about this again? Didn’t HE read Lord Young’s report?
Mr. Straw told MPs that the previous night, while he was preparing his evidence to the committee, he had been phoned at home by a claims accident company seeking to represent him over an alleged accident in the last three years: ’I’d not had an accident in the last three years,’ he told MPs.
‘But it shows the relentless pressure inside these very dodgy firms.’
Yes Jack, but you like countless others did not claim, nay COULD NOT CLAIM BECAUSE YOU HADN’T HAD AN ACCIDENT – GEDDITT?
Mr. Straw added: ‘Claims management companies are parasitic. In any other walk of life, we would describe this racket by referral companies as bribery.
‘These practices are leading to very substantial (insurance) increases on law-abiding motorists.’
Jonathan Djanogly said the Government intended to band the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees which have sent premiums rocketing.
He noted: ‘You only have to turn on daytime TV to see lots of dodgy solicitors’ firms which are part of this racket.’ He said there were two firms of solicitors within 100 yards of his own front door offering ‘£600 for a referral.’
Memo to Justice Secretary:
If dodgy solicitors are advertising on tv, then bring them to justice now!! Haven’t you heard about the Advertising Standards Authority?
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly told the committee the Government’s decision to ban the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees was ‘appropriate’ and had been ‘generally welcomed’.
Referral fees were part of the ‘sick, suing culture’ that was keeping premiums artificially high: ‘We want the benefit to feed through to the consumer in the form of lower premiums.’…and fair compensation settlements!!!
He believed the Government’s reforms would bring commons sense to the system by weeding out greedy claims, noting how under the current system: ‘If you are a claimant and have no chance of losing, you are almost crazy not to sue. Why wouldn’t you? That’s what we propose to reverse.’
This is getting rather tiresome. Will somebody PLEASE tell the UK Justice Minister that an injured person wishing to make a claim has to actually prove negligence? Ye gods – does he think that people claiming compensation just have to ask the insurance companies nicely?
Keen to get in on the act, or is it the feeding frenzy, roads Minister Mike Penning condemned the claims firms as ‘ambulance chasers’ noting: ‘As a human being I find it very difficult that any organisation would seek to profit from others’ injury. Yet fifty per cent of claims are personal injury claims.’
This comment is about as crass and unthinking as it is possible to get, even for a government minister.
Critics say soaring premiums are tempting some to drive uninsured – with an estimated 1.3 million drivers now on the road without insurance.
A word anyone about insurance company profit margins or their active participation in and encouragement of referral payment schemes?
MPs on the Transport select committee report have already condemned the current system as ‘dysfunctional’. We take it they mean the claiming ‘thing’ and not Mr. Djanogly’s department…although that story isn’t over yet, not by a long way.
Paul Evans, chief executive of insurance company AXA UK, said increases had slowed to about a 1 to 2% rise a month but added:’ we shall continue to see continuing increases in the months to come …
aye right enough, as he squeezes every ounce of profit out of claimants before his game is rumbled by a myopic government and an enraged public who aren’t as gullible as he thinks.
Another insurance industry ‘compensation culture’ myth.
Most people who claim compensation for personal injury are just looking for a source of extra money in a recession – they should just ‘grin and bear it.’ For people read ‘the undeserving injured…’
The key issue for the injured person and their family is whether they can afford not to seek damages, particularly if they are unable to continue working or have to change jobs as a result of their accident.
In any event, the amount of money awarded is far from being a ‘lottery’ win. In the UK damages in personal injury cases are based on very precise calculations, refined over many years, which reflect the extent of the injury and the earning capacity of the victim.
The process is designed with one aim in mind – to put the injured party back to where they were before the accident. Thus a twisted ankle claim will not attract a multi-million pound sum, whereas a brain-injured survivor of a road traffic accident might well receive a very large sum of money to pay for a lifetime of medical care.
Insurance companies know this very well and they are not about to sanction overly generous compensation claim payouts under any circumstances. The idea that hurt and injured people are scamming the system and receiving ‘over the odds’ payouts is absolutely ludicrous – but that doesn’t stop The Daily Mail reporting it as fact…
We welcome your thoughts on the ‘compensation culture’ and would like to know if you agree with us that the vast majority of accident compensation claims in the UK are made by trustworthy people seeking justice and fairness for themselves and their families.