The number of whiplash-type injury claims is continuing to increase, despite a fall in road accident injuries, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries revealed this week.
Analysis of motor insurance industry data published by the Profession shows that the frequency of third-party injury claims increased by 6% last year, at the same time as there was an 11% decline in the number of road accident claims.
The Profession attributed the discrepancy to a longer-term 'change in claiming behaviour'. Its data shows that, between 2006 and 2011, there was a 20% fall in the number of injuries reported to police in accidents, but a 40% increase in the number of third-party injury claims.
David Brown, chairman of the UK third party motor and PPO claims working parties at the Profession, said: 'All of the updated data that we have collated supports the conclusion that claims management companies have had a marked effect on the number of small injury, whiplash-like, claims.
'This increase in claims has cost the insurance industry what we estimate to be £400m, but despite this the average cost of a UK motor insurance policy is decreasing. This is good news for the consumer, but it does raise the question of how sustainable this is for insurers.'
According to figures cited by the Profession, the average cost of motor insurance premiums fell by 7.2% over the 12 months to July.
Its analysis also found that the average size of a small third-party injury claim is £8,400, which it said was part of an increase in the average size of small claims it has seen since 2005.
The Northwest region of the UK is a 'hotspot' for third-party injury claims, which the Profession said corresponded with the region being home to the highest concentration of claims management companies per capita in the UK.
However, Birmingham postcodes figure most significantly in the districts with the highest third-party injury claims frequency per capita in the UK, with 11 of the 20worst districts located in the Midlands city.
Scotland had the lowest ratio of third-party injury claims to third party damage claims in the UK, and also the lowest concentration of claims management companies per capita.