Ministers should consider reducing the time limit for road accident insurance claims to help contain the effect of whiplash cases on premium prices, MPs have said.
31 JULY 2013 | THE ACTUARY TEAM
The Commons transport select committee also said people lodging whiplash claims should be required to provide more supporting evidence and proof of injury.
According to the Association of British Insurers, whiplash claims cost more than £2bn a year, representing over 20% on the average motor insurance premium - around £90 a year to the average motorist.
Transport committee chair Louise Ellman said some of the increase in whiplash claims had been due to fraud or exaggeration by claimants.
'To help bring insurance premiums down the government must tighten up the requirements for motor insurance claims and ensure that insurers honour their commitment to reduce premiums,' she said.
There was also a strong message for insurers, who were urged to 'get their house in order' and end practices that encourage fraud and exaggeration.
'Motor insurers have committed to passing any reductions in costs arising from legal reforms to consumers in the form of lower premiums. We recommend that the government explain how it will monitor that this commitment is honoured,' said Ellman.
Estimates of the proportion of whiplash claims that are fraudulent range widely, from 0.1% to 60%, according to the report.
Forms of fraudulent claim identified by the MPs included: 'cash for crash', where crashes were caused deliberately to generate claims; claims relating to non-existent passengers; and fabricated or exaggerated symptoms.
The ABI agreed that 'fundamental changes' to the current system were needed . It urged the government to 'grasp the nettle' and eliminate the UK's 'whiplash epidemic'.
James Dalton, head of motor insurance at the ABI, said: 'The transport select committee is right to identify the need to tighten up the requirements for those submitting whiplash claims. There has been a growth in recent years in claimant lawyers and claims management companies encouraging people to submit an increasing number of frivolous or exaggerated claims.
'Following recent reforms to the civil litigation system, insurers committed to pass on cost savings to motorists. We have delivered on that commitment and average premiums have reduced by 10% in the last year.'