Insurers welcome Government moves to cut whiplash claims
27 January 2012
The Association of British Insurers has welcomed moves to abandon what the Government Transport Committee called "sharp practices" in the management of car accident claims that have caused hefty rises in premiums.
The committee said the cost of motor insurance is "primarily the result of market dysfunction, and in particular the escalation of uncontested claims for whiplash injury".
"Insurers, solicitors and claims management companies have themselves driven up the cost of motor premiums by encouraging people caught up in road accidents they did not cause to claim for personal injury, car hire, and other legal costs," said committee chair Louise Ellman.
"The insurance industry must abandon sharp practices that push up premiums such as passing drivers' personal data to other parties or taking secretive referral fees from solicitors, garages and car hire firms."
Ellman called for action on whiplash claims in particular, where she said insurers tend to settle cases rather than the costly process of challenging a diagnosis.
"The threshold for receiving compensation in whiplash cases should be raised and, if the number of such claims does not fall significantly, the Government should bring forward primary legislation to require objective evidence - both of a whiplash injury and of it having a significant effect on the claimant's life - before compensation is paid," she said.
The ABI said it was pleased that the Government had recognised the issue. "Every motorist wants the best deal and insurers are determined to deliver value for money motor insurance," said the association's director of general insurance Nick Starling.
"Our customers are fed up of getting text messages, fed up of the compensation culture and have had enough of paying higher car insurance premiums to line the pockets of ambulance chasing lawyers and claims management companies."
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