'Ambulance-chasing lawyers' blamed as nuisance calls hit 12m a day

Report calls for compulsory caller identification, automated voicemail calls to be banned and a one-year deadline to make whiplash claims

More than 12 million nuisance calls are made in Britain every day as “ambulance-chasing lawyers” tout for business, according to a new report by a leading insurance firm.

Axa Insurance warned that premiums were rising because the calls encourage people to make false claims, The Times reported. About £90 of the cost of each car insurance policy goes towards paying compensation for whiplash, which hit a record figure last year.

The injury is thought to be a major source of fraudulent claims, so much so that the Government is considering banning cash payments and only allowing insurers to pay for physiotherapy instead.

Axa’s report called for compulsory caller identification, automated voicemail calls to be banned and a one-year deadline to make whiplash claims.

Amanda Blanc, chief executive of Axa Insurance, said: “The level of nuisance calls remains unacceptably high and claims management firms are clearly to blame.

“These companies have proven very successful at finding ways around legislation and some are operating at the edge of the law. Quite often they claim someone has been in an accident when they haven’t, which shows they are just making random calls to people.

“They are just fishing and that encourages fraudulent claims. Our study found that a clear majority of people feel these calls invade their privacy. More pressure needs to be brought to bear to rein in the industry’s excesses.”

The company’s report found that about 20 per cent of people receive an unsolicited call every day while about 50 per cent get at least one call a week.

James Walker, of the complaints handling website Resolver, said: “Ambulance-chasing lawyers have a lot to gain from getting consumers to use their services and they are playing chess with the government.

“It is time for the government to take serious action and stop their blatant disregard for the law.”

The Ministry of Justice is currently looking into capping fees charged by claims management companies to reduce the incentive to make nuisance calls.

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