Thursday, January 04, 2007

Claims Farmers

The public may well have sympathy for the council for its recent announcement against insurance fraud, as it declared in a recent press release. In the release, Councillor Alun Thomas is quoted as saying Fraudulent insurance claims against the council cost thousands of pounds every year…The council is committed to keeping council tax to a minimum next year and so we are calling on residents to help us put an end to insurance fraud. Committing fraud is a criminal offence and penalties include fines and imprisonment."

The problem of insurance claims against councils isn’t a new one. Back in June 2004 a BBC news article highlighted the plight of a number of council tenants living in Bridgend County who had taken the then Labour Council to court. The article highlights one couple plight when they ended up with debts amounting to £8,697, after deciding to take the Council to court.

What Cllr Thomas's statement does not do is to address the reason for the increase in the number of unfounded claims.

Regional AM Peter Black recently highlighted the plight of those who make compensation claims in the South Wales Libdems web site. In the article, Mr Black highlights the dubious practices of “Claim Farmers”, who are persuading people into pursuing 'no win no fee' compensation claims. Mr. Black has asked the Department of Constitutional Affairs to look into the practice. He wants a statutory code of conduct put in place for claim farmers to ensure that there is no sharp practice. He has also asked that insurance companies and solicitors who pay out commission for business referred to them should be forced to carry out more stringent checks before accepting the business.

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