Lawyers call survey on insurance claims ‘anti-victim propaganda’

Law Society criticises AIG research saying one in five know someone who exaggerated claim

 Law Society president Stuart Gilhooly: “There has been no big increase in claims or awards to warrant rises of 70 per cent in the average premium over the last three years.” File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Law Society president Stuart Gilhooly: “There has been no big increase in claims or awards to warrant rises of 70 per cent in the average premium over the last three years.” File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

 

The Law Society has described as “anti-victim propaganda” the results of a new survey on bogus insurance claims.

The survey, which was commissioned by insurance group AIG, found that one in five respondents knew somebody who had exaggerated an insurance claim and that 15 per cent were aware of somebody who had falsified information.

However the new President of the Law Society, Stuart Gilhooly, said the survey was the latest example of a propaganda campaign being waged by the insurance sector.

The survey, he said, “purportedly measures public awareness of falsified insurance claims” and “alleges” that 15 per cent of the public know someone who has falsified an insurance claim.

“How can this be true?” he said. “The insurance industry takes a highly sceptical and even aggressive attitude towards every claim made. The courts system is rigorous in testing for false claims. All evidence of injury is confirmed by doctors, the truth of all facts in the case must be sworn by the victim and the severest penalties including imprisonment can be applied where false claims are found to have been made.”

Nevertheless, he said, prosecutions for fraudulent claims are extremely rare. He described the survey results as “self-serving insurance propaganda against accident victims” that was designed to distract attention from the “massive increases in motor insurance premiums, whose true causes lie elsewhere”.

“As the chief executive of the injuries board confirmed yesterday, there has been no big increase in claims or awards to warrant rises of 70 per cent in the average premium over the last three years.”

The true causes of the crisis for the premium-paying public were years of under-reserving and under-charging by the motor insurance industry, which drove competitors from the market, together with a collapse in their investment income.

“The insurers continue to blame everyone but themselves for this crisis,” he said.