The early indications are that insurers are willing to end pre-med offers, the government said last week.
Meanwhile, disagreement between claimant solicitors and insurers over access to fraud data has been brought into the open.
As part of its latest inquiry into implementation of whiplash reform, the transport select committee published a series of letters it has received recently, including a supplementary response from the Ministry of Justice to the committee’s report in July.
Last month committee chair Louise Ellman complained that the MoJ’s first response had not addressed all of the MPs’ concerns.
The MoJ said in the first response that it was attracted to the idea of banning pre-medical offers. Providing more detail in the second response, it said: “However, devising such a rule is unlikely to be straightforward and nor will it be sufficient on its own.
“MoJ officials are currently arranging meetings with the relevant stakeholders to discuss the options and the early indications from the ABI [Association of British Insurers] indicate there is a willingness on the part of insurers to end this practice. However, further work needs to be done with the stakeholders and their regulators to ensure any action is effective.”
The MoJ also elaborated on how it will monitor insurers’ commitment to pass on costs reductions through lower premiums.
It said: “This is an area we need to do further work on to ensure we have an adequate baseline of effective data with which to work. The government will continue to monitor the publicly available sources of data – such as regular reports on motor insurance premiums published by the AA and Confused.com.
“Other financial performance reports and profits data, details of any refunds from the MIB levy etc will also be considered and we will also continue challenge the industry for the evidence of savings being passed on to consumers on a regular basis.”
Correspondence released by the committee revealed that since October 2011 the ABI has been in discussions with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) and the Law Society on an initiative to share data to help claimant lawyers identify fraudsters earlier in the claims process. Until the ABI wrote to the committee in June, it had been agreed that the talks would be confidential.
The ABI told the committee that, despite all having agreed to data sharing in principle, the claimant lawyers had gone back on what would be the “parameters” for data sharing and that discussions had gone backwards as a result.
In response, MASS “strongly” contested this version of events, saying it was “greatly surprised and disappointed” by the ABI’s letter. It explained that the key sticking point was whether and how insurers would inform the lawyers that the claimant had made multiple claims.