Pressure for the Government to take steps to halt the sale of car crash victims’ personal details is mounting, as more evidence comes to light regarding the behaviour of the nation’s car insurance companies.
More calls for official action will be seen in Parliament next month when it resumes ordinary business, industry expert say. This is because that, in addition to public outrage over the trafficking in privileged information, the practice has also been found to have a negative impact on motorists’ car insurance rates.
Law firms and claims management companies can and have paid referral fees to trades unions, brokers, insurers, and even hospitals and police forces in the past either to promote their service or for the personal details of car accident victims. This practice is blamed on the rapid increase in motor car insurance claims for personal injury, which has led to massive increases in premium prices over the past two years, experts say.
Despite calls to put an end to the practice, the Government, the legal industry, or insurance providers themselves have yet to take significant action until just recently. The first and only sign of a change in the prevailing winds, insurance provider Axa announcing they had done away with referral fees, has not caught on amongst its rivals.
Jack Straw, former Home Secretary, stirred the pot earlier last summer, after he conducted an investigation into the high costs of insurance, prompted by complaints filed by his constituents. Mr Straw was astounded to discover that insurers could earn as much as £1,000 per sale of a customer’s name and contact details.
Mr Straw remarked that referral fees were parasitical because they ate away at the entire car insurance industry’s integrity.