MPs are calling for the sharing of whiplash fraud data to be made compulsory. They believe that doing so would help to clamp down on exaggerated and fabricated claims moving forward.
The Transport Select Committee (TSC) has criticised the slow progress in allowing insurers and solicitors to share data about potentially fraudulent claims. It was, of course, the transport select committee who oversaw last year’s vital whiplash report that helped to block further unnecessary reform.
What the TSC whiplash report says
In what is their fourth report on the cost of motor insurance premiums, the TSC states: “We are in no doubt fraudulent and exaggerated claims have been encouraged by the insurers’ practice of paying out for whiplash claims without a medical examination?”
“We strongly agree with the government’s intention to prohibit such offers, as part of the new system for independent medical panels or diagnosis and reporting.”
The report also fired a warning regarding new evidence of a potentially dishonest practice being used by solicitors. It suggests that some could be ordering additional medical reports on psychological harm arising from road traffic accidents. The ABI has suggested that this was happening in two per cent of whiplash, neck and back injury claims. This number has doubled the amount prior to 2011.
As a result of the report, the committee are now urging the government to act immediately. They have recommended that it is ensured that better data exists. They also stated that this data needed to be accessible to solicitors and insurers alike.
The TSC report also calls into question how the ABI had managed to come to the conclusion that there had been almost 60,000 dishonest motor claims in 2013. They have called for ministers to ask further question on this.
In summary, the report says: “The government must continue to engage with interested parties, rather than just with the insurance industry, as has been the case in the past. It must all make sure that its reforms lead to sustainable reduction in motor insurance premiums, which must not be allowed to bounce back to the extraordinary high levels of the turn of the decade.”
The findings of the report will be welcomed by the personal injury profession. For the most part the report was positive. This is good news considering the strong influence the TSC have had on the government’s decision in the past.