Leading law firm Thompsons Solicitors says the latest figures from insurers on 'fraudulent motor insurance applications' are yet another example of the industry making claims without producing any evidence to back them up.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claims that 180,675 'fraudulent' applications for insurance were detected by the industry last year, but Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons says:
"Until the ABI adequately explains its definition of fraud and is transparent their claims aren't worth the paper they are written on. Trotting out unsubstantiated figures that include – unless they prove otherwise – any mistake or oversight made by motorists is reminiscent of some tin pot dictator's factory production figures, they mean nothing and there is no way to check them.
"It was only in May that the Financial Ombudsman reprimanded the car insurers for treating genuine mistakes as fraud and for not explaining clearly what they are asking consumers to tell them. Four months later they carry on as if nothing has happened. So much for regulation of the industry.
"The Financial Ombudsman handled 7,190 complaints against car insurers last year mainly on this very issue. But for the ABI, nothing should get in the way of a good story and here they are again waving the shroud of fraud but hiding the detail. Anything to distract from the vast profits they are making out of motorists.
"Our recently published 'Tracker' shows that this type of behaviour by the industry is nothing new. Our researcher spent six months trying to clarify so-called 'crash for cash' fraud claims made by the industry and found that the figures simply could not be explained.
"Everything we see suggests that the industry regularly puts out figures that are exaggerated or false to shore up the impression of a 'fraud epidemic'. They do so to bolster government moves to restrict access to justice for injured people.
"The Tracker findings emphasise the importance of the call made by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee for public policy and action on insurance fraud to be based on reliable, independently verified data."