Be wary of the highway’s robbery
According to Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), a “shocking lack of transparency” and “serious overcharging” exists in relation to repairing damaged public property.
Responsible with providing claims services to the insurance industry for over twenty years, CMA urges drivers to check (and, if necessary, contest) repair bills, in relation to damage to road surfaces, or street furniture, resulting from a crash, a fire, or fluid spills.
Former police detective and Managing Director of CMA, Philip Swift, commented: “My experience of dealing with hundreds of these below-radar claims, which Highways England acknowledges that it does not supervise, has caused me to question whether many of the costs being presented are accurate, or appropriate. There is a shocking lack of transparency – contractors are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act – and we see cases frequently of serious overcharging. In a not insignificant number of cases, no payment is warranted at all. We advise any drivers, or businesses, that think they might be a victim of this behaviour, particularly insurers and fleet operators, to get in touch.”
The following examples were provided by CMA to justify its stance:
- A fleet operator was hit with a £46,000 claim for a barrier repair from Highways England. CMA pointed out that the length had been conveyed as yards, when it should have been in feet. The original invoice was reduced by two thirds, saving the client around £30,000 but, as the contractor was described as ‘problematic’, the entire claim was written-off.
- When an insurer was hit with a £56,000 claim for resurfacing a stretch of road in South East England, CMA used the Freedom of Information Act to demonstrate that a larger contaminant spill in Scotland had been addressed for just £750.
- When a driver was hit with a £4,700 claim for a small paint spillage, CMA discovered that the contractor had attended within half an hour and washed the road surface in just 16 minutes. A new settlement figure of £700 was presented subsequently, representing an 85% reduction on the original bill.