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Behind The Brand, Industry Updates

First4Lawyers in the media: May 2019

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Helen Spivey, senior marketing communications manager, May 21, 2019

As we move towards the start of summer, we look back at First4Lawyers media profile over the last few months of 2019.

We continued to write our regular column in Claims, where our managing director, Qamar Anwar spoke about FCA oversight for CMCs as a positive move to ultimately drive bad practice out of the industry once and for all and enhance its reputation as a result. In a separate article for the publication, he posed the question of whether part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 was worth the bother? The article was also published by The Personal Injury Brief Update Law Journal.

Turning to the Civil Liability Act, on which First4Lawyers has been a vocal opponent; we remain committed to be a voice for those who will undoubtedly be impacted by even less access to justice in the future. As many of you will know, there has been little evidence to back up government and insurer claims of ‘epidemic’ levels of fraud. New figures published in March provided further proof that the reforms were not needed and only serve to line the pockets of the powerful insurance lobby.

Therefore, with news published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) showing that there has been a “slowly decreasing volume” of personal injury (PI) claims since 2016, we issued comment from our managing director, Qamar Anwar in response, which was covered by Legal Futures.

“The government should be hanging its head in collective shame at once again allowing itself to be duped by the powerful insurance lobby. I hope ministers take note of these figures and hold insurers to their promise to pass savings from the Civil Liability Act onto consumers. Yet, with insurers now claiming the cost of repairing cars is rising, I doubt consumers will be receiving a windfall any time soon.”

Furthermore, as Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures confirmed that volumes of whiplash claims have fallen to their lowest level in seven years, we issued comment from Qamar Anwar in response, which was covered by New Law Journal.

“The latest figures from the MoJ won’t be a great surprise to claimant lawyers, who knew all along that reports of a growing whiplash epidemic to be vastly overstated by insurers. I hope ministers take note of these figures and hold insurers to their promise to pass savings from the Civil Liability Act onto consumers.”

In his latest piece for Claims, he questions the true extent of savings from whiplash reforms and why we need to see a greater level of detail and transparency from insurers. “The danger is that insurers may try to play unfairly. Take their increased rhetoric in recent months about an escalation in repair costs – we fear that they are already lining this up as another excuse for not passing on savings. So, we need to see a greater level of detail and transparency from insurers to ensure this does not happen.

“The fact is that lower insurance premiums are the core rationale for these reforms. If that does not demonstrably occur, then consumers will have lost out twice, given the reduction in access to justice that the reforms represent.”

We also issued comment from Qamar in response to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) consultation, ‘Future Provision of Medical Reports in Road Traffic Accident related personal injury claims’, which was covered by the Law Society Gazette and Legal Futures.

“While it appears sensible for the MoJ to extend the MedCo system to unrepresented claimants under the Civil Liability Act regime next year, there are several questions left unanswered. This seemingly simple solution proposed by the MoJ actually exposes how poorly thought-through the whole reform process has been in the pursuit of a discredited policy that will ultimately only benefit insurance companies at the expense of injured people.”