New Light Shed on Whiplash Debate

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has welcomed the findings from the Transport Select Committee’s report on whiplash as “a shift towards transparency and truth”.

The not-for-profit campaign group has slammed insurance companies that encourage fraud and exaggeration, saying they should be immediately “taken to task”.

APIL’s words echo those of MPs who have called for insurers to “put their house in order”, after the report detailed how the cost of car insurance is vastly inflated by whiplash claims. The full report is available is spread across two volumes and can be read by following the links below:

Transport Select Committee: Cost of Motor Insurance: Whiplash: Volume 1
Transport Select Committee: Cost of Motor Insurance: Whiplash: Volume 2

Chief Executive of APIL Deborah Evans said: “The Transport Select Committee has acknowledged that the Government has, so far, largely been influenced by the insurance industry in its plans to tackle high motor premiums, and called for insurers to get their house in order. I couldn’t agree more.”

The insurance industry itself has denied encouraging fraud, but agreed that more needs to be done to clear up the claims process. MPs also attacked insurance companies for ignoring a previous recommendation to be more transparent concerning their links with other claims companies, such as claims management companies. As figures about fraudulent or exaggerated whiplash claims are often hard to aggregate, a more transparent process and better dialogue between companies would help the motor insurance sector become less opaque, and result in better statistics being collated. This, along with a proposed accredited scheme for medical practitioners who file reports on accidents should theoretically result in greater transparency within the industry.

What is known is that there were 477,000 whiplash claims in the UK in 2012/13. This number is down from the 2010/11 peak of 567,000, but is still high enough for the Ministry of Justice to deem the UK as “the whiplash capital of the world”. Indeed, the Association of British Insurers claimed that 78% of all low value road accident claims made in the UK were for whiplash. This compares with an average figure of just 48% for the rest of Europe.

Whiplash costs UK motorists around £2bn a year, which translates as about an extra £90 per premium per person. Further measures are being contemplated to help tackle this, including reducing the claim period to a maximum of one year after the accident, rather than the current three years.

If you have been involved in road traffic accident resulting in whiplash, or know of someone that seeks medical advice. Please feel free to get in contact today on 0800 083 5500.