Lawyers have accused the insurance industry of hypocrisy after stories have emerged of drivers being overcharged for insurance cover due to inflated repair bills.
Reports in the national media suggest insurers are using secret deals to grossly inflate repair bills, with The Daily Telegraph finding that they routinely inflate repair costs by as much as 100%, and are receiving undisclosed kickbacks for the difference.
The process could be creating a hidden cost of £750m, equivalent to around 5% of the UK’s £34 million drivers’ annual insurance premiums.
Yasmin Ameer, a serious injury specialist at Nockolds Solicitors said: “The insurance industry is quick to blame the compensation culture and solicitors for the rise in insurance premiums – now they need to take a closer look at their own processes and procedures.
“When the Ministry of Justice announced a cut to the discount rate – the calculation used to determine lump sum compensation to claimants who have suffered life-changing injuries – earlier this year, the Association of British Insurers said it would inevitably lead to an increase in motor and liability premiums.
“Their hypocrisy is now laid bare for all to see. It is time for insurance companies to get their own house in order rather than blaming everyone else – be it the government, solicitors or their own customers.”
Barrister Bill Braithwaite QC said that the insurance industry has been telling drivers that the change in calculating personal injury compensation through a new discount rate would cost them millions of pounds in higher premiums. However, the discovery of inflated repair costs did not sit well with this notion, he said.
“Will we ever find out the truth? Will the Government now realise the truth behind the intense lobbying currently being carried out by insurers against the discount rate?”