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Insurer applauds new “claim farmer” laws

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RACQ Insurance has welcomed new laws stopping uninvited phone calls from “claim farmers” relating to car crashes, but says the new legislation does not go far enough.

The Motor Accident Insurance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 came into effect on Thursday. It protects private information and stamps out unsolicited scam calls for Queenslanders.

“These callers – often from overseas or interstate call centres – use nefarious tactics and misleading information to solicit or induce someone to divulge personal details which are then on-sold for profit,” Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said.

Research collected by the state’s Motor Accident Insurance Commission, which regulates compulsory third-party insurance (CTP), found more than 1.5 million Queenslanders have been targeted by claim farmers with calls to solicit information.

Claim farming is causing significant stress with some people receiving 10 calls a week or more.

A maximum penalty of $40,000 for an individual and $200,000 for a corporation are now in place.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith says the state government would need to remain vigilant to ensure the new rules are enforced.

“While this legislation is a good start and long overdue, we don’t think it goes far enough,” Ms Smith said. “Claim farmers enlist clever tactics and it won’t take long for them to find a way to work around the legalities.”

In robocalls, for example, the person called is required to make a choice to proceed with the call or not by pushing a number on their phone. They could thus be seen as agreeing to the call.