The government needs to follow through on its commitment to formally set out how it plans to tackle the rapid rise in whiplash claims resulting from road accidents, the Association of British Insurers said today.
Plans to take action on the issue, which the ABI described as an 'epidemic', emerged from a meeting between the insurance industry and government in February, but proposals for consultation have yet to be published by the Ministry of Justice.
Suggested actions discussed in February include increasing the upper limit for personal injury claims that can go through the personal claims court from £5,000 to £10,000 and introducing more independent medical experts to assess whiplash claims.
According to the ABI, for every week the government delays implementing these changes, over 10,000 whiplash claims are made, increasing the cost of premiums for motorists. The cost of meeting whiplash claims now represents over 20% of the average motor insurance premium, it noted.
James Dalton, the ABI's head of motor insurance, said: 'For too many people a car crash automatically means a whiplash claim. Government reforms will tackle the "have a go" compensation culture.
'But when it comes to whiplash, the Ministry of Justice have had their foot on the brake for too long and it is time to get on with consulting if we are to help genuine whiplash claimants and drive the whiplash cheats from our roads.'
Figures published by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries last month revealed the number of whiplash-type injury claims continued to increase last year, despite a fall in road accident injuries. The increase was linked to the growing number of claims management companies.