This month we provide the latest news including the ABI's lowest recorded fraud rates since 2007, developments with e-scooters and the Northern Ireland Personal Injury Discount Rate.
Also, as we begin to approach the end of 2021, we take a look back at some of our recent successes. We have a lot to celebrate this month, with new team members, our Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners rankings, BLM being named one of the best firms by the Belfast Telegraph and The Times, and BLM Belfast Partner, Michelle McCullough being appointed the Chair of Northern Ireland Forum of Insurance Lawyers.
E-scooters - an update
While e-scooters remain illegal in Northern Ireland, last month, the Irish Government published its Bill to reform and modernise road traffic legislation, which includes provisions to facilitate the use of e-scooters and other powered personal transporters (PPTs) and autonomous vehicles on roads in Ireland. The press release accompanying the Bill can be viewed here.
Alistair Kinley's recent blog in relation to e-scooters in ROI can be found here.
At present, there are no e-scooter trials in Northern Ireland and no proposed Bill in order to reform road traffic legislation. Their role here in the future remains to be seen however ultimately, Northern Ireland may follow suit with the rest of the UK and Ireland.
BLM is planning a following up e-scooter event in February 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this!
ABI reports fraud at the lowest level since 2007
The Association of British Insurers' (ABI) latest detected general insurance fraud figures show that, in 2020, the number of detected fraudulent claims fell to 96,000 (down 10% on 2019 to hit the lowest level since 2007).
Fraud detection rates rose, both by number (up 0.02%) and by overall value (up 0.47%). This shows the level of detected fraud measured against all claims made.
Insurers detected proportionately more motor insurance fraud than in 2019, despite a fall in the overall number of motor insurance claims, due to fewer vehicles on the roads during lockdowns
Despite a fall in the overall number of insurance frauds detected in 2020, mainly due to fewer motor insurance claims, both the value of the average fraud and fraud detection rates increased in comparison with 2019, highlighting how well insurers' fraud investigation teams have adapted to working remotely.
Mark Allen, the ABI's chief fraud and financial crime officer, said: "Insurers adapted very quickly to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic in order to protect and support their honest customers through the most difficult of times."
Recent fraud success
Keeping with the detection of fraud, Kelly Ann McAteer, Solicitor in our Belfast office prepared to run a case to hearing last month on the basis of suspected fraud. The Plaintiff ultimately withdrew his claim in full, including special damages, at the doors of the court.
The matter in question related to a road traffic collision in Belfast. Liability was in dispute however ultimately our own view was that our client would not escape liability in full.
Michelle McCullough appointed as Chair of NI Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL)
Michelle, Partner in our Belfast office has recently been appointed as the Chair of FOIL Northern Ireland. Michelle has been a FOIL NI representative for six years. Partner Stuart Hardy in the firm's Manchester office has also been elected as President of FOIL.
FOIL is the representative voice of the defendant insurance lawyer community which advances a reforming agenda for a more transparent and proportionate claims environment benefiting claimants and insurers alike.
A huge congratulations Michelle and Stuart! These appointments are very well deserved.
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