Industrial deafness claims

Here at Aviva we believe that genuine cases of industrial deafness deserve compensation. However, many of these claims are brought by opportunistic lawyers who are supported by claims management companies. We believe the spurious industrial deafness claims culture is having an adverse effect on premiums and it’s about time something was done about it. Hear from our very own Dave Lovely, Global Claims Director, about this industry issue.

 

So Dave, where are we with industrial deafness claims at the moment?

 

“Aviva recognises the problems caused by exposure to damaging levels of noise at work and we do all we can to settle genuine claims promptly.  People who have been exposed to loud noise throughout their career and demonstrate noise induced hearing loss should be compensated.  However, it cannot be right that for every £1 Aviva pays to genuine hearing loss sufferers, the claimant lawyers receive £5.”

 

What about spurious industrial deafness claims?

“Too many industrial deafness cases are submitted by opportunistic personal injury lawyers with the support of claims management companies that actively encourage people to make claims. They are not serving the best interests of claimants by submitting claims using poor-quality hearing tests. There is an accepted standard for industrial deafness hearing tests that requires testing to be undertaken in sound-proofed, rooms with specialist equipment. However, we are seeing evidence of tests being done poorly and conducted in, for example, community halls and shopping centres. In some cases, no hearing tests are conducted at all.”

 

How can the industry tackle this issue?

 

“To solve this problem the industry needs to work together and campaign for a system of fixed legal fees for dealing with cases. Using standardised audiometric tests and expanding the Claims Portal to allow multi-defendant industrial deafness claims should also be considered. We also call on the recently announced Insurance Fraud Task Force to recommend a programme of reform which will make these claims simpler to process and discourage lawyers from submitting weak cases they know are likely to fail.”

 

Aviva wants to work with the industry, Government and Regulator to make deafness claims quicker and simpler to settle. Potential reforms to campaign for include:

·         expanding the Claims Portal to include multi-defendant claims

·         establishing a panel of independent hearing loss experts to reduce spurious and fraudulent claims

·         agreeing a system of fixed legal fees for industrial deafness claims.

 

If you have any thoughts about spurious or opportunistic industry deafness claims, please just email us at theloop@aviva.co.uk

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