In the last few years, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (“MAIC”) has been making a conscious effort to crack down on individuals and organisations who are undertaking a practice known as ‘claims farming’.

What is Claims Farming?

Claims farming refers to the act of cold calling members of the public to enquire about any recent motor vehicle accidents with the intention of persuading the individual to make a claim for compensation.  These scammers often pretend to be representing the MAIC, insurance companies or other government agencies.  Once the scammer has your details, they will then sell that information to companies who will make a CTP claim on your behalf, all the while charging excessive fees.

What is the Motor Accident Insurance Commission doing to stop it?

In 2018, the MAIC undertook an extensive investigation into the prevalence of claims farming in Queensland.  A survey of 800 Queensland adults found that more than 1 in 3 people had been contacted by a claim farmer within the preceding 12 months.

Off the back of the investigation, there was a significant push by the MAIC to prevent claims farming which included public information campaigns to educate the public about these unethical practices and how to report them.  These campaigns saw a marked increase in claims farming reports submitted by the public.

New legislation was then introduced in December 2019 to reform the existing CTP scheme in Queensland and make it illegal for lawyers to pay claims farmers for claim referrals.

How do I report claims farming?

Despite the efforts of the MAIC, claims farmers continue to operate in Queensland and it is unlikely that any legislative reforms or public awareness campaigns will be successful in eradicating claims farming completely.

If you find yourself contacted by a claim farmer, the simple message from the MAIC is to “Hang up.  Report.”  In addition, the MAIC provides the following tips to help the public stay vigilant:

  1. Be wary of cold calls after a car crash.
  2. Don’t be pressured.
  3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  4. Check if your caller is who they say they are.
  5. Hang up and report it.

More detail about claims farming, including what to do if you suspect that you have been contacted and how to make a report can be accessed here:

https://maic.qld.gov.au/scheme-knowledge-centre/ctp-fraud-and-scams/hangup/

vbr Lawyers commends the efforts of the MAIC to address this important issue and supports the legislative reforms made in 2019 to further deter legal practitioners from participating in this unethical practice.

Daniel Macpherson Solicitor

This blog was written by Daniel Macpherson, Solicitor

Phone:  (07) 3278 0099 or Toll Free 1800 316 716

Email: daniel@vbrlaw.com.au

 

Greg Black Compensation Lawyer Brisbane

This blog was approved by Greg Black, Director

Phone: (07) 3278 0099 or Toll Free 1800 316 716

Email: greg@vbrlaw.com.au