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Claim rogues face ‘nuclear’ response

Standards Council chief pledges onslaught on ‘scandalous marketing’

The Claims Standards Coun- cil has promised to wage “nuclear” war on rogue claim management firms after uncovering a wave of scandals in the sector.

The voluntary watchdog, which is expected to become regulator of the sector when the Compensation Bill is passed later this month, says it has discovered 10 rogue firms and is investigating one company accused of dispatching bailiffs to collect compensation from customers.

The CSC says it has also received complaints about endowment claim management firm Brunel Franklin which has provoked IFA anger by sending customers a “chequebook” to encourage friends and relatives to lodge complaints.

Each book contains six cheques worth 100 for every referral which generates a successful claim.

The firm, which does not feature on the CSC’s list of 10 rogue companies, is also under investigation over a separate complaint.

CSC policy director Andy Wigmore says firms that fail to change their practices urgently will be squeezed out under the new regula- tory regime.

Aggressive marketing tactics deployed by claim firms have outraged adv- isers who have been swamped with complaints over endowment policies and led the Government to impose regulation on the sector.

Wigmore says: “We will go nuclear on these firms. This is the last-chance saloon for firms that engage in scandalous marketing practices and are fleecing customers.”

Brunel Franklin claims director Ian Allison says: “The refer a friend idea is one that the financial services sector has been using successfully for many years and it is a legitimate marketing tool.

“All of our marketing mat- erials are carefully vetted before they are distributed.”

But The Analysts compliance officer Tom Kean says: “It is incredible that the high- pressure tactics allegedly used to sell endowments are now being used by endowment claim chasers.”

Aifa deputy director gen- eral Fay Goddard: “This is exactly the kind of practice that we are concerned about and shows why the claim management sector urgently needs to be regulated.”

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