Dear Mr. Tan
Mark Lim, Executive Director of GIA has posted a comment to my views about motor insurance claims. I thank Mr. Lim's for his comments.
I think that Mr. Lim as not understood the part of my comments regarding personal injury claims. The increase in personal injury claims is not because of fraud by lawyers, doctors, workshops and members of the public working together. I never said or implied this.
I do not know why Mr. Lim is suggesting that I should make a police report. I put the increase down to injured parties being better informed of their legal rights. Even if the injury was a minor one, the injured party has the right to seek legal recourse. So, in the example given by me, there was nothing wrong in the conduct of the workshop owner referring the injured motorist and his wife to a lawyer to claim for damages. There is no criminal misconduct.
In the past some insurers have screamed fraud at some of the soft tissue injury claims, but a further anlysis and examination by their own appointed specialists revealed nothing untoward and the injured parties were awarded damages by the courts.
In this respect, I agree with Senior Counsel Michael Hwang (in his letter in the ST Forum) that if there was nothing the lawyers and doctors would not be able to make out something and the courts would not have agreed.
We need to think out of the box regarding the escalating personal injury claims. For example, when I was heading the Claims Department in NTUC Income, we had a unit that took the pro-active approach in handling personal injury claims. Injured parties were offered fair compensation even before they submit their claims. We also give them a list of running down firms which were not in the NTUC Income's legal panel for them to check on the fairness of our offers. In taking this approach, we saved on legal costs which can add 50% to 100% to the final payout amounts on those cases that we closed successfully..
If insurers cannot handled the personal injury cover profitably, maybe this portion should be handed over to the State like in New Zealand, (where the State handles and the claims are paid out on a no fault basis.)
I have just received an affirmation last week (24/3/2009) from Mr. Tan Kin Lian, that "[w]hile you were in Income, we must have made more than $40 million in profits over the few years that you headed the department." So I do know what I am talking about!"
Former general manager, NTUC Income
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