The Commons Transport Select Committee (CTSC) announced last week the terms of reference for their inquiry into the impact whiplash has on rising insurance premiums and has called for evidence to find how best to deal with it.
In what will be a definitive report on motor claims the CTSC will look to answer many questions including whether or not the government are correct in describing the UK as the ‘whiplash capital of the world’. It will also determine whether or not the costs of whiplash claims are responsible for the rising motor insurance premiums and if so how many of these are down to exaggerated or fabricated claims.
Committee Chair, Louise Ellman, stressed that there were no preconceived ideas from her group when tackling this subject and that they would listen to all sides of the debate.
She said: “It is vitally important for policymakers to understand the reasons for the very high cost of motor insurance, especially for young drivers, and to take steps to bring that cost down. Whiplash claims undoubtedly play a part in driving up the cost of motor insurance, but access to justice for injured people must be preserved. We want to hear the arguments on these points and will publish a report in the summer about the best way forward on this difficult issue.”
The report will also inform on whether or not proposals, put forward by the government, in relation to medical evidence of whiplash and incentives to challenge fraudulent or exaggerated claims, are likely to reduce motor insurance premiums and, if so, to what extent and what the likely impact of the proposals are on claimants’ access for justice.
The timing of the report is crucial as the government is set to announce the outcome of the consultation on whiplash and the proposals to increase the small claims limit. Surely it would be better to postpone any changes to the limit until after the findings of this investigation as otherwise any change would be made without understanding the full facts of whiplash and the impact it has on insurance premiums.