It would appear that following the release of the Transport Select Committee’s whiplash inquiry report, the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) copy must have been different to everyone else’s as they continued the same campaign for the small claims limit to be introduced.
The ABI continued to blame claimant lawyers and claims management companies (CMCs) for encouraging people to submit frivolous and exaggerated claims, despite the committee telling the insurance industry to immediately “put their house in order” and revealing that it was in fact the motor insurance industry who were guilty of encouraging fraud and exaggeration in accident claims.
The committee found that the insurers are increasingly guilty of accepting claims without proper scrutiny and often paid out without seeing any medical evidence, or even where fraud was suspected, as it could turn out cheaper than fighting the claim in the courts.
Another criticism of the insurance industry was that they had ignored previous recommendations to be more transparent about their links with other parties involved in accident claims which include the very same claims management companies that the insurers continue to throw the blame at.
But the insurance industry has remained defiant in the face of the report’s findings and put further pressure on the government to deliver the reforms to the small claims limit.
Head of Motor Insurance at the ABI, James Dalton, has insisted that the government has to deliver fundamental changes to tackle what he is still claiming is a ‘whiplash epidemic’ before insurers can deliver further reductions in car insurance premiums for their customers.
Mr Dalton said: “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 exaggerated and fraudulent claims.
“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% 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.”
This is clearly a tactic to hold the government over the barrel of a gun, as the promise was that if the Jackson reforms and cuts to lawyers’ costs were introduced then premiums could be reduced and further evidence of what the personal injury sector have been saying all along about how trustworthy the insurance industry really are.
The claims about the insurance premiums happened over the year which preceded the Jackson Reforms which would suggest that the alleged ‘whiplash epidemic’ was already decreasing and that perhaps such radical reforms to the industry were unnecessary.
This aligned with the government’s figures which states the number of whiplash claims did in fact drop by 11% last year, displays that this is nothing more than a cost saving exercise on behalf of the insurers and not even glaring facts will stand in their way of trying to influence the, so far fickle, government’s decision when it comes to the small claims limit.
1. Pixabay; Luis Estrada; https://pixabay.com/en/news-paper-magazine-1389974/
2. Pixabay; Unsplash; https://pixabay.com/en/pedestrians-rush-hour-blurred-urban-1209316/