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Claim farming – don’t forget your law practice certificate obligations

New law practices are reminded that they must consider law practice certificate requirements under the Motor Insurance Act 1994 (Qld).

The Motor Accident Insurance and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019, which commenced on 5 December 2019, introduced substantial amendments to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAIA) and the Motor Accident Insurance Regulation 2018 designed to target car crash scamming or ‘claim farming’. The amendments included the provision of law practice certificates at various stages of the claim process.

There are significant penalties for not providing a law practice certificate and for provision of a false or misleading certificate.

Law practice retained by claimant after notice of claim

Where a legally represented claimant retains a new law practice after the claimant has given notice of the claim under section 37; whether self-initiated by the claimant or via sale of business, then under section 37AB, the supervising principal must give a law practice certificate to the insurer within one month after the practice is retained.

Law practice sells business/claim to another law practice prior to giving notice to insurer

Pursuant to section 36E of the MAIA, a law practice that refers a CTP claimant to another law practice as part of a sale of all or part of the law practice’s business is required to complete and provide a law practice certificate. The certificate must be provided to both the purchasing practice and the claimant before the referral occurs.

Additionally, section 36E(3) of the MAIA states that, if the purchasing law practice does not receive the certificate, the supervising principal of the purchasing practice must give notice to the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) as soon as practicable, stating it has not received the certificate.

Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton says that prompt notification from law firms and practitioners is of great assistance to MAIC’s claims farming investigations.

Practitioners who are taking over the conduct of a claim after the notice of claim has been given or are selling or purchasing CTP claim files should ensure that they are aware of the obligations under the MAIA and are encouraged to report any concerns about claim farming activity directly to MAIC by contacting General Manager David Vincent, email david.vincent@maic.qld.gov.au.

MAIC can be contacted by phone, 1800 287 753, or email, maic@maic.qld.gov.au.

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