With the 2015 election looming and the outcome far from certain, it is time to ask what the insurance industry might be seeking from the next Government.
And more specifically, what the Claims Club members and the wider claims fraternity is looking for over next five years - considering the significant scrutiny the sector came under during the last term with the creation of a new regulatory regime, Flood Re, the much criticised CMA review, the London Riots and introduction of Laspo.
To help start the debate we have assembled an expert panel to help us mull over the successes or otherwise of the Lib-Con coalition and postulate what the future priorities should be for the industry's campaigning efforts.
Among those we have invited are Ashton West OBE, who in his role as CEO of the Motor Insurers' Bureau has been at the forefront of some successful lobbying; Rob Cummings, who as general insurance manager of the ABI is at the heart of the industry's political communications; and John Spencer, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, will provide a perspective from the claimant community.
Jonathan Evans MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance and Financial Services and seasoned campaigner Alastair Kinley, a partner at BLM, complete the line-up.
It would be great to see you all attend to listen to the quintets' views and share your own thoughts, but as a starter for four I thought I would offer an alternative view of some of the things that could be on the agenda:
1) Bring back the stocks
Fraud continues to be a major issue for the industry and although progress has been made, there continues to be debate about prosecutions - and the relative cost of the reward to effort here.
To cut out the costs of drawn-out legal battles, one simple way to shame perpetrators is drag them to the centres of their town and encourage locals to throw rotten fruit and veg at them to the tune of the amount they exaggerated their claim.
I have it on good authority there was not too much insurance fraud in the 18th and 19th centuries, and yet it has risen dramatically since the stocks were abolished in 1872. Coincidence?
2) Slow down, you're going to have a heart attack
Seriously, since the birth of the Financial Conduct Authority it has been operating at a pace which for anyone else would have elicited at least three driving bans by now, throwing out thematic review after thematic review with little evidence of customer detriment.
I think the boys and girls at Canary Wharf need to slow down or both sides might end up adding to the touted stress epidemic (see below).
3) Sequels are usually worse, no matter how bad the first one was
Aliens, Empire Strikes Back and Godfather 2 are the exception to the norm. Most sequels suck. Even ones to movies that weren't much cop in the first place, from The Hangover to Police Academy to Big Momma's House, manage the near-impossible job of sucking even more.
With that in mind, no matter how bad the industry considered the The Competition and Market Authority's review into motor, wishing for it to have another go at the "dysfunctional market" might result in another Transformers 2-sized headache for everyone involved. And there is no guarantee any lessons would have been learnt from the previous mistakes on all sides...
4) A new driving test is surely needed for the whiplash prone Brits
The insurance industry is now doing a great job at getting to the root of problems before they occur, with the emphasis on underwriting fraud beinga good example.
Given how prone it seems Brits seem are to soft tissue injuries caused by low-impact motor collisions (especially when compared with mainland Europe) does it not make sense to introduce a test when people are learning to drive, to expose those most vulnerable to these injuries and ban them from all motorised transport -for their own good obviously.
Either that or we need to eat more soft cheese, baguettes and frogs legs.Oonly 30% of personal injury motor claims in France are for whiplash.
Okay, these suggestions might not be the most realistic or workable solutions to some of the weightier issues, so I would be delighted to hear your thoughts during the Claims Club debate on the 25th February.
To sign up to attend please click here for what looks to be a great session, which will also look at the issue of stress-related claims - an area that is already being worryingly called the new industrial deafness, which in turn was the new whiplash.
Another epidemic that is the last thing we need!!!
For more details of the entire roster of speaker please click here.
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