Insurers Push For Industrial Deafness Reform – Claimants Lose Out


Simpson Millar’s legal experts have joined the fight against insurers’ attempts to block almost 90% of industrial deafness claims.

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Recent reports have seen insurers proudly declare that they have rejected 85% of industrial deafness claims, which they say are ‘fraudulent’.

However, Simpson Millar partner and head of Industrial Disease claims Emma Costin, argues that the insurance industry’s stance is a smokescreen to mask its general campaign against injured people, robbing them of the means to secure justice and compensation.

Emma told the insurance industry trade magazine Post, that the system has become “stacked in favour of defendants (i.e. insurers)” and that “pricing genuine claimants out of the ability to make a claim should have no place in a civilised society and is a tactic that insurers should be ashamed of.”

Insurers are lobbying government once again to increase the scope of ‘The Claims Portal’, an online system for submitting and managing cases, which was originally designed only for the simplest cases valued at just a few thousand pounds. “The principal of the claims portal is sound and we accept that where efficiencies can be gained they should be made,” said Emma. “However insurers want highly complex injuries such as industrial deafness and other diseases caused by negligent employers which often leave people unable to work for prolonged periods, to also be pushed through the Claims Portal’s mincer. This may be the dream scenario for insurers, but it is not justice.”

Emma was not alone in her criticism of the insurers’ stance. John Spencer, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, added: "One can always look at ways to improve efficiency, but what we're not going to do is pretend that a portal is the answer."

Spencer told Post that industrial deafness claims are too complex to fit into the portal model, not least because the portal has been designed for cases with admitted liability.

"In our experience," he said, "it's pretty hard to find a defendant (insurer) who will admit liability so readily. Industrial deafness cases require a lot of evidence that needs to be picked through with a fine toothcomb, which would make them unsuitable for a portal model.”

Emma Costin and her team support claimants from across the UK who have been injured at work or have suffered a disease or illness that was not their fault. These conditions frequently cause significant hardship for the individuals concerned and Simpson Millar, alongside its peers from the claimant legal services industry, will continue to fight against insurers as they chip away at consumers’ rights.

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