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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

North-West tops table of UK bodily injury motor claims

Forty three percent of third party claims in the region involved bodily injury in 2010, compared with 13% for North East Scotland - the lowest claims region.

The Institute and Faculty said that the figure for the North West is higher than that for Nevada which, with 40% of third party claims involving bodily injury, represents the highest ratio in the US.

The research also showed that claims hotspots tend to match areas with the highest concentration and activity of claims management companies.

Scotland had the lowest proportion of private motor insurance claims involving injury to third parties, with 20% of claims in the Central Belt involving a claim for injury, against a UK average of 29%.

The Institute and Faculty said that Scotland has stricter controls on referral fees, with the amounts paid being less than the rest of mainland UK, and so has far lower numbers of claims management companies in operation.

David Brown, one of the authors of the research, said:

"Claims management companies in England and Wales make money from referral fees; they sell on the details of the case to a solicitor, for example, and receive a fee for this. At present, there is no regulation of referral fees although the Ministry of Justice is currently seeking to ban them.

"Our figures show the real picture of bodily injury claims in the UK and the regional differences are stark. The areas of the strongest growth for claims management companies; North West England, North East England and West London are all areas where the number of car insurance claims involving bodily injury claims are above the UK average.

"It is, of course, right and proper that those who have suffered bodily injury are able to claim compensation, but with claims management companies' turnover rising by 50% to £377million in 2010, this is clearly a big money industry. We welcome the announcement from the Ministry of Justice proposing to ban referral fees and we will work with them, and others, in order to try and restore sense to the claims system."

Percentage of UK private car insurance claims involving bodily injury
(Regional breakdown by ITV region for year ending 31 December 2010)

 North-West England  42.8%
 Nevada (highest ratio in the US)  40.3%
 North-East England  37.4%
 Yorkshire  33.5%
 Central  30.5%
 London & SE ex. Kent & Essex  29.5%
 UK average  29.4%
 Wales  28.3%
 East Anglia  25.8%
 Borders  23.1%
 West & SW England  22.4%
 Kent & Essex ex. M25  21.8%
 Central Scotland  20.4%
 Northern Scotland  13.0%