Three in four people have received an unsolicited text or phone call from a claims management company (CMC) offering them the chance to claim compensation, even though almost all had no grounds to bring a claim, according to research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The YouGov poll of 2,652 adults found that 78% had been contacted by a CMC asking if they had been involved in an accident or been mis-sold payment protection insurance. However, 92% of those who received such a message said it was not relevant to them.
The survey found strong support for a crackdown on CMCs, with three in four people backing a ban on unsolicited messages.
James Dalton, the ABI’s head of motor and liability, said: “Unsolicited contact from claims management firms is a symptom of our dysfunctional compensation system, which encourages frivolous, exaggerated and even invented claims, especially for personal injury.
“The real losers are honest policyholders who end up paying the price through higher insurance premiums. Our survey results show widespread public support for our calls to tackle this nuisance, as part of wide ranging reforms to the compensation system, so that genuine claimants are the only ones who receive pay outs.”
During the passage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill through Parliament earlier this year, the government said no change in the law was needed to crack down on unsolicited marketing by CMCs.
Justice minister Lord McNally said legislation primarily enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) already exists to protect people. Recent action by the ICO led to the confiscation of more than 20,000 mobile phone SIM cards that were being used to send unsolicited text messages, he revealed.
Lord McNally continued that fellow justice minister Jonathan Djanogly was to meet the Information Commissioner to discuss the issue, regulators are working with the telecommunications industry, and a cross-government working group has been set up to produce a guidance note for consumers explaining the functions of the relevant regulators along with advice on how to make a complaint.