Drivers, fleets and insurers urged to contest excessive highway repair bills

Drivers, fleets and insurers urged to contest excessive highway repair bills

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Image supplied by CMA

“We often see cases of serious overcharging. In a not insignificant number of cases, no payment is warranted at all,” says CMA MD Philip Swift.

Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), of West Malling, Kent, urges UK drivers, fleet operators and insurers to challenge the costs associated with road surface and street furniture repairs following a crash, spillage or fire.

If you damage Crown property, for example, by striking a motorway barrier, hitting a traffic sign or damaging a road surface, you or your insurer will get a bill, usually from a council, Highways England, Transport for London or one of their contractors.

Rather than just paying it, CMA says it’s wise to engage a specialist to scrutinise the invoice.

It’s published three recent examples to illustrate potential savings:
Case study 1: When a fleet operator had a £46,000 claim for a barrier repair from Highways England, CMA pointed out the length had been conveyed as yards when it should have been feet. A fair adjustment was to reduce the original invoice by two thirds, saving the client £30,000. But as the contractor was described as ‘problematic’, the entire claim was written off.

Case study 2: When an insurer had a £56,000 claim for resurfacing a stretch of road in South East England, CMA used the FoIA to demonstrate a larger contaminant spill in Scotland had been addressed for just £750.

Case study 3: When a driver had a £4,700 claim for a small paint spillage, CMA discovered the contractor had attended within 30 minutes and washed the road surface within 16 minutes. A new settlement figure of £700 was presented, an 85% reduction on the original bill.

Said Philip Swift, CMA’s MD, a former police detective: “I don’t make these comments lightly, but with some Highways England contractors, the tail seems to be wagging the dog, especially where contractors have agreements to retain claims under a certain threshold, commonly £10,000. My experience of dealing with hundreds of these below-radar claims, which Highways England acknowledge are unsupervised, caused me to question whether many of the costs presented are accurate or appropriate.

“There’s a shocking lack of transparency, contractors aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so we frequently see cases of serious overcharging. In a number of cases, no payment is warranted at all. We advise any drivers or businesses who think they might be a victim of this behaviour, particularly insurers and fleet operators, to get in touch.”
0845 3888 810, claims@cmaclaims.co.uk, www.cmaclaims.co.uk.