The Association of British Insurers has long targeted the epidemic of automobile accidents that result in claims for “whiplash” injuries for reform. In April it highlighted the fact that the UK was the “whiplash capital of Europe.”
In its most recent statement, responding to the Transport Select Committee’s report – “Cost of Motor Insurance: Whiplash,” the ABI said: “Only fundamental changes to the current system will mean that insurers can deliver further reductions in car insurance premiums for their customers.” It called on the Government to “grasp the nettle and deliver the vital reforms needed to tackle the UK’s whiplash epidemic.”
James Dalton, the ABI’s Head of Motor Insurance said: “The industry remains committed to paying genuine whiplash claimants fair compensation in as short a timeframe as possible. However, for too many dishonest motorists, whiplash has become the fraud of choice, increasing motor premiums for everyone.
“The Transport Select Committee is right to identify the need to tighten up the requirements for those submitting whiplash claims. There has been a growth in recent years in claimant lawyers and claims management companies encouraging people to submit an increasing number of frivolous or exaggerated claims. Whiplash now costs UK motorists over £2 billion [over $3 billion] a year, adding £90 [$120] to the average premium.
“Following recent reforms to the civil litigation system, insurers committed to pass on cost savings to motorists. We have delivered on that commitment and average premiums have reduced by 10 percent in the last year.
“The Committee’s report has kicked into the long grass making the tough calls for reform that are needed to help insurers combat the whiplash epidemic and deliver further premium reductions for hard-pressed motorists.”
In support of its message the ABI cited the following figures:
— Despite safer roads, in 2012/13 there were just under 477,000 claims for whiplash, this equates to nearly one claim every minute.
— Whiplash claims cost over £2 billion [over $3 billion] a year and represents over 20 percent on the average motor insurance premium – around £90 [$120] a year to the average motorist.
— The UK is the whiplash capital of Europe: 78 percent of low value motor personal injury claims are for whiplash, compared to an average of 48 percent throughout the rest of Europe.
Source: Association of British Insurers
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