Whiplash-related claims up, while road accidents continue to fall

Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 17 oct 2012:

If you’re confused about the state of the accident claim sector, prepare for another head-scratcher: accidents are down, even as whiplash claims are up.

A new study has sown that, even as the number of road traffic accidents has gone down according to police statistics, whiplash claims made by motorists are rising. The new report found that Birmingham in particular was one of the worst areas of the UK when it came down to third party injury claims, as out of the 20 worst districts in the country, Birmingham has the dubious honour of having 11 of them alone.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries said in its third annual motor insurance industry report that he claims increase has been costing insurers a king’s ransom, with estimates of around £400 million in costs last year. Some of the blame, according to the industry body, needs to be laid at the feet of claims management companies.

David Brown, chairman of the Institute, commented on the study’s findings, remarking that claims management firms have had a significant effect on whiplash injury claims volume, according to the study’s collected data. The cost of an average third party injury claim was found to be around £8,400, the report says.

Between 2006 and 2011, police reported 20 per cent less accidents that led to injury, the Institute said. Yet despite this, somehow there was an almost inexplicable 40 per cent increase in the number of injury claims throughout the same period of time

The roads aren’t getting more dangerous, the industry body said, or at least aren’t according to the research data. Instead, the Institute says that there has been an obvious ‘change in claiming behaviour,’ which is more or less a polite way of saying people are fabricating injury claims or simply blowing incredibly minor injuries completely out of proportion in an effort to make spurious personal injury claims against insurers – and that claims management companies may be behind the burgeoning injury claims figures.

The north west is absolutely hands-down the worst part of the country when it comes to whiplash claims, according to the study. Meanwhile Scots seem to have either the strongest necks in the UK or the most honest motorists, as the study found those north of the border were least likely to bring a claim.

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