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DMA speaks out against personal injury racket

28 Jun 2011 4:21 BST Back
DMA speaks out against personal injury racket

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The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has welcomed Jack Straw’s call for car insurance companies to stop selling customers’ data to personal injury claims firms without their permission, but has rejected his claim that a tightening of existing legislation is required.

The former Labour home secretary hit out against insurers after leading an investigation into the selling of claimants’ data and confronting representatives of insurance companies who admitted to the practice.

Straw was alerted to the issue after being contacted by constituents who had been involved in minor traffic accidents and were then bombarded with unsolicited marketing texts and cold calls from no-win, no-fee personal injury lawyers.

Writing in The Times, Straw stated his belief that the practice of insurance companies selling their customers’ data is “contrary to the spirit of data protection.”

The DMA’s Chris Combemale said the organisation welcomed Mr Straw’s remarks, but denies that further legislation is required:

“We agree with Mr Straw that the selling of information about accident claimants to personal injury lawyers is wrong, as is unsolicited SMS and telemarketing. However, the industry doesn’t require a new set of rules. Existing legislation set out in the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations already covers this.

“Our DM Code of Practice, which all DMA members must follow, also stipulates that companies must be scrupulous in the way that they collect, store and use customers’ data, and prevents unsolicited SMS and telemarketing.

Combemale adds:
“And regardless of the law, the way in which injury claims firms using data about insurance claimants is not best practice. For some people this is a nuisance, for others it’s a distressing experience. Either way it will hurt their brand and ultimately drive away customers.”

According to recent statistics, the number of road accidents leading to injury has declined over the past 10 years, but the cost of personal injury claims has doubled to £14 billion.

Posted by
Nicola Carpenter

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