By: 7 March 2017
Claims sector braces itself for Philip Hammond’s first Budget

Claims professionals from both the claimant and defendant side are bracing themselves for Philip Hammond’s first Budget.

The Chancellor is expected to raise taxes and be cautious when announcing the Budget tomorrow and insurers, in particular, are hoping that Hammond leaves the insurance sector alone, given that it has recently seen a host of new and unexpected costs as a result of policies such as raising the Insurance Premium Tax and drastically reducing the Ogden discount rate.

Phil Smart, head of insurance and investment management at KPMG UK, said: “I think everyone is hoping that tomorrow’s budget will be a quiet one for insurers but the industry has learnt not to be complacent and will be braced for unwelcome surprises.”

“Brexit and wider geopolitical uncertainties pose challenges which the sector is working through: our clients tell us further levies would be particularly unhelpful from a competition, cost and compliance perspective. In a post-Brexit world the role insurance plays in infrastructure development and in providing protection for economic growth will be essential, there needs to be point at which the Government stops squeezing.”

Meanwhile, National Accident Helpline has said that the Chancellor should use the Budget to crack down on fraud in PI claims by banning cold calling and stopping rogue claims management companies from continuing to operate in different guises following insolvency.

Simon Trott, managing director of National Accident Helpline, a founding member of the Ethical Marketing Charter, said: “National Accident Helpline, along with more than 70 leading firms as part of the Ethical Marketing Charter, are calling on the Chancellor to introduce a blanket ban on cold calling and to clamp down on phoenixing [the practice of carrying on the same business or trade successively through a series of companies where each becomes insolvent in turn] in the Spring Budget.

“Only through doing so can we stamp out nuisance calls once and for all and ensure that consumers are protected from annoying cold calls.”