Insurers betraying lawyers trust with rehab process point scoring

Insurers are eroding the trust of claimant lawyers by using the rehabilitation process to "score pol...

Insurers are eroding the trust of claimant lawyers by using the rehabilitation process to "score political points", according to the vice-chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society.

Tony Goff said that the trust developed between insurers and claimant lawyers had now disappeared. "Claimants have noticed that insurers are trying to strip lawyers out of the rehabilitation process - they are using the issue as a political football," he told delegates.

Mr Goff added that, for example, Royal and Sun Alliance's rehabilitation programme pretends to put claimants at the centre of the process but in reality puts costs and the requirements of their shareholders at the centre.

However, Steve Maddock, claims technical director for RSA, responded by arguing that insurers were making the fundamental changes necessary in an "unhealthy environment created by an increased number of solicitors chasing less work".

He said: "We want to get to the injured party first to reduce legal costs, leading to lower prices, which means that the consumer wins."

Mr Maddock added: "It is rather easy for lawyers to claim we are using rehabilitation as a political football, because they would prefer to avoid change and maintain their business models."

Responding to arguments that RSA's model hands absolute power to the insurer and restricts the claimants' ability to seek independent advice, Mr Maddock concluded: "People will vote with their feet - ultimate power always lies with the consumer."

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