In recent years, so-called ‘compensation culture’ has become a part of the risk landscape for UK businesses and organisations. Genuine claims against businesses and organisation by staff and contractors do arise, and deserve to be correctly settled. However, an increasing number of false or exaggerated claims do affect a number of employers. Risk UK” with the help of Jonathan Chadwick, head of commercial law at national law firm Stephensons” considers the scale of the problem. Everyone will be familiar with advertisements on television, radio, the internet and other media encouraging the making of personal injury claims. An industry has grown up – in the last decade or so – around Claims Management companies that make a living by obtaining the details of accident victims and selling them onto solicitors for referral fees. This industry has subsequently created a phenomenon often described as the ‘compensation culture’, which is a term that is often associated with, and will be more familiar to, many on the other side of the Atlantic. One result of such promotional activities by the Claims Management companies has been an increased perception that it is very easy to make a claim and this, coupled with pressure on individuals to pursue any and every possible incident, has made litigation seem a profitable avenue to follow. Given the current difficult economic climate, this approach appears to be contributing to fraud against insurers and the businesses that they insure. A rising tide? Claims against businesses can come not only from customers” which is outside of the scope of this article – but also very often from employees, contractors and other business-related site visitors. Pursued litigation can be varied, but predominantly includes Employment Tribunals and accident claims. While the majority of claims are genuine, there are clearly a number which are fraudulent. The ABI” Association of British Insurers – estimates that detected insurance fraud rose by 9 per cent in 2010, totalling
The Blame Game: Dealing with the UK’s growing compensation culture
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.