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Form an orderly CUE

This article first appeared in the Insurance Post on 11 May 2015.

Ask Cue PI is now open for business and previous claims history checks become mandatory for all CNF’s submitted to the portal from 1 June 2015.  Importantly, a failure to include the unique search reference number within a CNF from 1 June will mean that the Portal clock will not begin to run until a properly completed CNF is submitted. One of the perceived benefits of this new mandatory search process is that if the claims history that is volunteered by a potential claimant is materially different to that revealed by Ask Cue PI, then the claimant’s legal representative can make an early decision about whether they act for the claimant any further. A percentage of claims are expected to fall by the wayside as a result although naturally, appetite for risk will vary greatly amongst different legal representatives. Inevitably though, opening up previous claims data to the honest majority also means that a dishonest minority might seek to capitalise on the fact that this ace has been removed from the insurer’s sleeve. Those claimants who might be prepared to deliberately conceal their accident history in order to enhance their current claim may well benefit from being ‘reminded’ about their recent claims, thereby providing an opportunity to tailor their evidence accordingly.

Equally, opportunities for insurers to ‘catch out’ such claimants might diminish. Overall though the introduction of this mandatory search to the whiplash claims process should be welcomed.  Consent is required to carry out a search and there may be some deterrent effect by the psychological barrier of having to ‘come clean’ in respect of previous claims at the very outset. In addition, there will be some claimants who find it difficult to obtain legal representation if they attempt to mislead rather than be transparent about previous claims.

However, the dawn of Ask Cue PI does not spell the end of credibility arguments that centre around ‘previous claims’ as the search only reveal claims within the last 5 years whereas it is likely that claims within the last 10 years will be of interest in any fraud investigation. In addition, it is perhaps not the number of clams that is the key factor, but rather whether the claimant in question acted honesty in any previous claim. Ask Cue PI will not shed any light on this crucial issue and so in practice the “credibility battleground” is likely to persist for some time yet. What is of concern is that organised fraudsters, put off by the implementation of Ask Cue PI in motor claims, may conclude that attempting to bring a fraudulent EL or PL claim to be less of a challenge.

Surely this initiative is one which should be implemented across the whole of the portal and to all claims up to £25,000.

For further information please contact Jamie Taylor, Counter Fraud Director on 0161 604 1606.

By Jamie Taylor

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.