Director of content's comment: Time to make a nuisance with a #coldcallcrackdown

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Earlier this year I blogged about a call I took from a rogue claims management company purporting to be a major player.

At the time I had a bit of fun trying to find out which insurer had apparently notified it about my [alleged] injury and uploaded a video to Twitter of the conversation, which my wife found rather amusing.

But that was the end of my action. Which means I am in the majority in not realising I could have been a potential whistleblower, given the power we all have to report nuisance call numbers to the Information Commissioners' Office.

And it's not just me. At two recent Post events - Claims Summit and Fraud Summit - a panel member asked the audience how many had received a nuisance call and most delegates stuck their hands up.

Interestingly, the two speakers represented an insurer and a personal injury law firm. When Direct Line's head of counter fraud intelligence and disclosure Mike Brown and Craig Budsworth, branch manager at True Solicitors, asked how many had then notified the ICO, the number was virtually zero.

In October, when the whiplash reforms appeared to be briefly off the government's agenda, the insurer and claimant sides seemed to find consolation in common ground to move forward, with cold calling a major problem both sides could agree on.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Justice proposals seem to have reopened old wounds and driven a wedge between them once more, given the inflammatory language being thrown about again.

While the public might be excused their ignorance of what can be done with regards the ICO, those working for insurers, brokers and their partners should be wiser and know the actions they can take to disrupt these annoying cold callers.

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Post is, therefore, throwing the gauntlet down to one and all with its #ColdCallCrackdown campaign. Aiming to get the insurance industry to sign up to a simple three-point charter.

Namely that: they will promote the ICO whistle blower service to staff – this could be done through internal emails, newsletters or posters prominently displayed in offices; employees will notify all rogue CMC calls to the ICO; they will use the hashtag #ColdCallCrackdown

In my case, I could have tweeted from @InsuranceSwifty that I had stood up and blown the whistle on this behaviour: “Today I #blewthewhistle as part of #ColdCallCrackdown @ICOnews”

If members of the public start seeing people employed in the insurance industry – including insurance CEOs – tweeting about this service and the actions it is doing to crack down on the problem, then more victims will get in touch with the ICO.

Given the numbers the insurance industry employs - 305,500 individuals according to the Association of British Insurers - we could make a real difference in rooting out this menace.

If the worst thing we can do is overwhelm the ICO with numbers, then so be it. The #ColdCallCrackdown starts now. Sign up here.

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