Personal injury lawyers are urging the government to commission independent research about insurance fraud, disputing figures cited by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in its call for solicitors to act urgently to tackle the problem.

Following a review by an independent body set up by the Treasury and the MoJ of the factors behind insurance fraud, justice minister Lord Faulks said last week that the government, which accepted all the recommendations made by personal injury lawyers, and would publish its own action plan.

Faulks noted that the report from the Insurance Fraud Taskforce highlighted a particular problem of fraud in relation to low-value personal injury claims. He added that insurance fraud was estimated to cost policyholders up to £50 each a year and the country more than £3bn.

Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon last week called for claimant and defendant representatives to work together to clarify the extent of the problem.

‘A starting point would be to have a clear definition of what constitutes a fraudulent claim so that the levels can be measured and targets set to reduce the cost of fraud,’ she said in response to Faulks’ statement.

‘In particular, the scale of fraudulent behaviour in obtaining a quote and securing a new motor insurance policy is unclear. Likewise, we do not know the cost of fraud to the consumer through higher motor insurance premiums.’