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Claimant lawyers continue to have their head in the sand James Dalton

Speaking at Marketforce's annual claims forum, the ABI’s Head of Motor and Liability James Dalton contrasted the long hard look in the mirror’ approach taken by the motor insurance industry to tackle the ‘dysfunctional’ motor insurance market and improve the trust of consumers, with the continued ‘head in the sand’ position of the personal injury claimant lawyer community.

His comments come as The Law Society yesterday launched its ‘Don’t get mugged by an insurer - use a solicitor’ campaign.

James Dalton said: “With excessive legal fees a key factor in pushing up motor insurance costs, and  ambulance-chasing lawyers and some claims management firms encouraging a ‘have a go’ compensation culture, it is not insurers who are guilty here”.

On the investigation by the Competition Commission investigation into replacement vehicles and credit hire, James pointed out that: “In our discussions with the OFT, we argued that the private motor insurance market should be referred to the Competition Commission. My hope is that the Commission’s work will result in recommendations for reform of the whole market which will consider regulation of those actors in the supply chain that merely add unnecessary frictional cost to insurers. Our hope is that their work will result in a credit hire and replacement vehicle market that increase insurers’ control over the costs of claims, reduce the cost of motor insurance for consumers, and improve the level and quality of service insurers offer their customers.”

On personal injury and referral fees he highlighted that the merry-go-round of referral fees had shaken consumer, media and political confidence in motor insurers “that is why we made the case, provided the evidence and supported the Government banning of referral fees”.

James stressed that the LASPO reforms are a critical first step in getting the UK’ personal injury compensation being fit for purpose, but that more needs to be done to deliver an efficient and cost-effective personal injury compensation system. On whiplash, he called for a debate on whether a minor, low-speed shunt justifies thousands of pounds in compensation.

James Dalton concluded by emphasising that the ABI and the insurance industry have and remain at the forefront pushing for a better claims environment that delivers for consumers “ultimately it is they who matter most”.

James Dalton will be chairing a session on 'Motor insurance: improving customer outcomes' at our major insurance strategy conference 'Meeting the challenges of a changing world' on July 9 in London. Click here to visit our dedicated conference website and reserve your place.

Last updated 01/07/2016