The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) welcomes yesterday’s announcement by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that it has issued guidance in relation to the potentially unethical actions of some firms handling personal injury claims.
The warning notice, issued on the SRA website, provides clear guidance on the standards that it expects firms to be meeting in relation to some very specific areas, which include:
- Cold calling
- Breaching the ban on referral fees
- Acting without client approval
- Paying damages to third parties
- Bringing claims without clients' knowledge or authority
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said: “Nuisance calls from unscrupulous organisations trying to persuade honest members of the public to make a claim, which is not genuine, are unfortunately all too common. The IFB knows that law firms are not necessarily making the calls themselves, however many of those claims will find their way into the hands of a lawyer. As such lawyers play a key role in helping to make sure the overall system works and only genuine claims are pursued.”
The Insurance Fraud Taskforce report proposed some clear recommendations on how to tackle the problem of insurance fraud and made reference to the work of the SRA as well as the IFB and other industry bodies.
Fletcher continued: “This guidance is a timely reminder of the very important role that lawyers play and sends a very clear message to law firms about how the regulator expects them to meet their professional standards. Furthermore it sends a warning shot of the sanctions that can and will be imposed on those who fail to fulfil those duties appropriately.
“The decision by the SRA to issue this warning notice demonstrates that, as an industry, we will not tolerate fraud regardless of whether this is committed by an individual, group or organisation.”