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Privacy regulator’s warning over accident claim calls

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Image caption The Association of British Insurers says their members take customers personal details seriously.

More complaints are made about nuisance calls on accident claims than any other subject, despite a ban on the sale of driver details, a regulator has said.

New laws introduced in April 2013 made the payment of referral fees between insurance companies, lawyers and claims management firms illegal.

But the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said there still appeared to be a lucrative trade in this data.

An insurers' trade body said the subject was taken very seriously.

Security of customers' personal information was a key legal consideration, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

Complaints

Dave Bevan, from Hertfordshire, was involved in an accident in October 2014.

"Within a matter of days I started receiving calls asking if anyone was injured in that accident and they were looking to see if they could pursue a claim on my behalf," he said.

"For me it was more than a coincidence that they started after the accident and petered out fairly quickly afterwards."

The ICO told BBC Radio 4's You & Yours programme that it received more than 2,000 complaints about unsolicited accident claims calls last month alone.

There still appeared to be a lucrative trade in the personal details of people involved in road accidents, it added.

"We haven't seen any evidence that insurance companies are deliberately selling leads on in breach of the ban," said Andy Curry, the ICO's group enforcement manager.

"There are a number of ways in which people's personal data can either be stolen or blagged out of companies and then used by lead generation or claims management companies."

Companies that illegally obtain information about accidents and use it to make nuisance calls can be fined by the Claims Management Regulator - part of the Ministry of Justice - from 1 January 2015.

Malcolm Tarling, from the ABI, said: "Insurers are always looking to do more to make sure information is stored as securely as possible. They are alive to, and acutely aware of, the legal requirements around data protection."

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