Straw challenges insurance firms

Former justice secretary Jack Straw is launching a campaign against insurance firms that sell on their customers' information to no win, no fee claim firms.

He pointed out that the cost of personal injury claims has increased to £14 billion over the last decade, despite the number of injuries in car accidents being 31% lower than the average for 1994 to 1998.

Writing in the Times, the Labour MP for Blackburn said: "This is not a system, it's a racket. The quicker it's ended, the better it will be for the law-abiding motorist."

Constituent Phil Riley alerted Mr Straw to the problem after he was "bombarded with texts and personal calls" following a small "fender bender" that caused him no injury at all.

With car insurance costs showing no signs of dropping, many drivers might welcome Mr Straw's stance as anything that could potentially save them money or hassle will be a great help.

As he tried to find out how the firms had got hold of Mr Riley's contact information, Mr Straw spoke to two major insurers who admitted selling on details.

This information has also been sold on by police forces, with one unnamed force making £1.3 million in 2008-2009.

Mr Straw said the number of claims companies has increased to 3,400 in two years and he wants them to be more closely regulated and their high pressure sales techniques curbed.

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