Hearing loss claims surge by nearly 300%

New racket? Insurer says lawyers are focusing on this insurance claim to increase their income

Hearing loss claims surge by nearly 300%

Insurance News

By Louie Bacani

Specialist insurer ECIC has revealed a nearly three-fold rise in hearing loss claims, which are now perceived as the new whiplash for claimant lawyers.
The company said the volume of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) claims it is managing increased by 295% from 2013 to 2016 compared to the previous four years.
The rise in claims volume is mirrored in a similar surge in claims costs, ECIC said, with a 313% increase in total costs over the same time period.

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According to ECIC, the latest data reinforces the warnings of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in 2015 that NIHL claims have become the new whiplash for claimant lawyers following a drop in their income due to the launch of the small claims portal and its extension to EL and PL claims in 2013.
“Over the past few years since the EL/PL claims portal was put in place, these claims have really escalated,” said ECIC claims manager Ian Hollingworth, who said that the rise in NIHL claims was recorded across the sector.
“What is abundantly clear is that claimant lawyers are focusing on NIHL to improve income - some even offer free audiograms to support their claims,” Hollingworth said. “This situation is not sustainable.”
According to the ABI, the influx of NIHL claims is slowing down the time taken to get compensation for genuine claimants. The trade body also found that that the quality of medical evidence was low, highlighting a need to improve the claims system.
“A change to the current system would be welcome in order to help genuine claimants and reduce the risk of claimant lawyers driving up legal costs,” Hollingworth said.

“If all NIHL cases were submitted through the small claims portal it would help reduce the time it takes for genuine claimants and make the system work better for everyone.”

Related stories:
Allianz wins appeal to recover costs in noise-induced hearing loss case
Brokers need changed claims role

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