Loss assessor jailed:: a rare but welcome move

If this were a sign of things to come, I suspect that there would be many within the ‘Claims Management’ industry who would be quaking in their boots! It has given me a novel idea for a new business though. How about I set up an operation that, for a nominal fee, properly reviews settled losses and takes a percentage where amounts above a certain threshold where internal fraud has been perpetrated!

I know exactly the type of claims and organisations I would start with because they aren’t all out of business and many of the ‘professionals’ who have knowingly or unwittingly played their part are easily recognised.

Still, grateful for small victories like these and the ongoing efforts of IFB…onward and upward!

A recent article regarding the failure of Merlin and some dubious industry practices has attracted an incredible amount of interest and comment. It led to an interview that appeared in the insurance press [Post Magazine].

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Merlin Claims:: making value disappear

I have never endorsed fraud so am not about to start now BUT I have always winced when I read about the cost to the industry of fraudulent (or inflated) claims. Thankfully, the industry has, belatedly, made great strides in this respect and a great deal of credit should go to IFB who had another major success this week. However unbelievable it may sound, my concern has not been so much the, reportedly, £2.1bn of undetected general insurance fraud!

What I and others (who are not so free to speak out) find particularly disturbing, is the unquantified scale of, what amounts to,  “licensed fraud” that is perpetrated by the industry, against the industry, inflicting yet more reputational damage on ourselves and for which, as customers, we all pay a financial premium. This may go some way to explaining why Roger Williams MP will, again, be raising the issue of Regulation for Loss Adjusters in Parliament after the summer recess!?

I really wanted to go to town on this news story but, you know what, after the news of Merlin entering administration broke, a couple of brief conversations and a few texts, I reckoned I couldn’t have put it any better than these words from a former, Senior (Fraud) Loss Adjuster:

Another Network has gone into administration. Merlin’s short-lived involvement with the insurance market may have cost millions of pounds to building contractors. For how long are CILA members (link to code of conduct – for reference) going to be “authorised to conduct business” with no real business model?

Merlin’s model was to take money from contractors and pretend to insurers that they were getting “value for money Loss Adjusting“.

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Lending…”my arse”: Small firms losing out on backing from major banks

Of course I cannot speak for anyone else but once I hear these words “The BBA said…” I feel instantly tense and irritated. I can only think that it is something to do with an intense dislike of being treated like an idiot. Particularly, by an organisation intent upon defending the indefensible at the expense of individuals and companies without whom they would be unable to continue to ply their trade.

I can remember the first time I felt this way. It was in the late 80’s when the then Manager of my local RBS told me that the branch was to close. It had come as a bit of a shock to him (an absolute gentleman by the name of Brain Peach) but he was “of an age” that he wasn’t too stressed about it – the same could not be said for all of his staff. To say that he was less than convincing when he delivered the HO message would be a sweeping understatement, can you figure out why?:

“In an effort to improve the service to local businesses, this branch is closing…”

I was much less cynical then but still marvelled at what I was being asked to believe. Nowadays, the banks have turned “opacity” and “spin” into a very expensive artform practised amongst themselves as well as with Regulators an customers!

Jim Royle
Image by Commonorgarden via Flickr

…the FSB also criticised the practice of some banks of calling in business loans, renewing them, and calling them “new lending”

…The Bank of England figures show lending to SMEs was £18.8bn in the third quarter, down from £20.5bn in the second quarter but higher than the first quarter’s £16.8bn. The BBA said the Merlin banks are “on track to meet their business lending commitments”. Defending the SME shortfall, it says: “The overall economic environment remains challenging and business demand remains weak.”

via Small firms losing out on backing from major banks – Herald Scotland | Business | Corporate & SME.