Q. Has the industry changed drastically since you started working in it?
A. Unquestionably. But generally, I believe, for the better. In my opinion, there is a greater focus on working in partnership with an insurer rather than working ‘for’ the insurer. And there is a real determination across the sector to apply a zero-tolerance policy to all forms of fraud. The insight and intelligence exist to arm insurers with the most robust defence of fraudulent claims, inflated credit hire charges, and unjustifiable cost applications.
There is a greater focus on working in partnership with an insurer rather than working ‘for’ the insurer.
Q. What has been the key positive or negative impact of change in your area of the market?
A. Positive – the attitude towards credit hire by the industry and the judiciary. There is now a much greater general understanding of the issues at large with common sense playing an increased role.
Negative – the windows of opportunity for fraudulent claims remains as wide open as ever. And the audacity of some fraudsters is breathtaking. For example, recently, Horwich Farrelly proved that a claim made by a former Salford City FC player was fundamentally dishonest, with the result that he was ordered to pay costs of over £6,000. The fact that he continued to play football – which was widely reported in the press and on social media – despite claiming that he was injured utterly undermined his attempt to defraud our client.
The relentless pressure on insurers to retain customers could also be seen as a negative when it comes to stamping out fraud. Insurance providers need to strike the right balance between settling claims quickly and investigating potentially fraudulent activity. Fraud still costs the insurance industry and its innocent customers a huge amount of money every year, and anything which distracts insurers from cracking down on that has the potential to embolden would-be fraudsters.
Fraud still costs the insurance industry and its innocent customers a huge amount of money every year, and anything which distracts insurers from cracking down on that has the potential to embolden would-be fraudsters
Q. Who inspires you and why?
A. Anybody and everybody who has achieved success in the face of adversity. This list includes people like my mother, Oprah Winfrey, and George Soros. However, Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard will be at the top end of my list too.
Q. Have you had/got a mentor? If so, what was the most valuable piece of advice they gave you?
A. I don’t have an official mentor but I have met many people in my 30 years working in the industry who have imparted valuable knowledge to me. This continues even now. The best advice was ‘…always listen and think before you speak!’
Q. If you were not in your current position, what would you be doing?
A. Ideally opening the batting for the England cricket team. But probably more realistically working in the police force.
Tackling insurance fraud remains a strategic priority with one insurance fraud being detected every minute in the industry. Horwich Farrelly is the insurance industry specialist law firm that has built a market-leading reputation for providing insurers with a robust defence against all forms of fraud, combining leading-edge technological advances with best-in-class investigative expertise.
Darren Mendel is a Partner and Co-head of Credit Hire at Horwich Farrelly.