Left out in the cold: Claimant personal injury lawyers question exclusion from insurance fraud task force.

Claimant personal injury solicitors may well feel justifiably aggrieved by the decision to exclude them from an inquiry designed to investigate the growing cost of the insurance sector.

The insurance fraud task force, was set up by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in December 2014. It is chaired by insurance expert and former Law Commissioner, David Hertzell and was formed to investigate just how much fraud is “encouraged, or not deterred” by the key players within the sector, such as insurers CMCs and lawyers.

Representatives from the insurance industry, Citizen’s Advice and the Financial Services Consumer Panel have all been invited to be part of the taskforce, who will report on the best ways to counter fraud, including instances of fraud in motor claims. However, no such invitation has been extended to the claimant groups themselves.

This exclusion has been greeted with disappointment by the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), who said there was no explanation as to why lawyers had been ignored. Donna Scully, the former Chair of MASS, tweeted that the approach taken by the taskforce was a “retrograde step”, whilst John Spencer, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) commented that the taskforce was a “one-sided exercise”.

It seems odd that such a major player should be left on the side-lines especially when there are clear advantages in their involvement especially when it comes to investigating their involvement at key stages of the claimant process. The initial findings of the taskforce were published last week. Responses to such findings must be in by 13 May 2015 with the taskforce expected to make its final recommendations by the close of 2015.