Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA) has called on Highways England to review its processes for handling Crown property claims against drivers, fleet operators and insurers.
At the moment, CMA says if you damage Crown property, for example, by hitting a motorway barrier or traffic sign, you or your insurer will receive a bill, usually from Highways England or one of its contractors. CMA says many are incorrectly priced.
In a recent case, CMA discovered that a 3.5-tonne pick-up truck supposedly used by a contractor in a motorway repair was listed as stolen at the time.
When queried, Highways England explained that their contractor blamed a typo in the vehicle registration mark (VRM) and provided a slightly different one. On checking the new reg, CMA discovered it was for a Mercedes-Benz E350 AMG convertible.
Philip Swift, managing director of CMA, said: "Presenting a sports car as a truck is one of the more amusing inaccuracies we’ve seen, but it reveals serious problems.
"The contractor seems to be guessing at the VRM, an important data point, and Highways England appear willing to accept what they are presented with without verifying it – their systems are not robust enough to detect even obvious anomalies.
“With Highways England reportedly preparing to take more Crown property claims back in-house, it urgently needs to review their processes.
"The lesson for drivers, fleets and insurers is: don’t take these claims at face value, engage a specialist to scrutinise them.”