The BBC reported yesterday that, according to the former UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw, UK insurance companies are selling the details of accident victims to personal injury claim firms for between £200 and £1,000 each. These firms then encourage the victim to make a personal injury claim against the third party that caused the accident.
Victims are usually contacted out of the blue by a text message informing them that they are due an amount of money (usually £3,750) as compensation for the accident they suffered – If they respond with “yes” or “claim” they are then called by a “claims management” agency to see if they qualify and, if they do, their details are then sold on to the personal injury claim firms. With referral fees averaging £600 per person this is very good business for the agency.
It may be the case that the insurers are selling victims’ details but I think this is an example of a random SMS spam attack – I have had this SMS message several times, as has my wife and many of my friends and colleagues. None of us have had an accident or made a claim.It’s not surprising though, as the returns are very high and make the risk of breaking the data protection regulations worthwhile for the perpetrators.
The debate of where the agencies get the numbers from will continue. One thing is for sure though – The profitability of claim harvesting will result in an increase in SMS spam – And our insurance premiums.