As the debate over the cost of motor insurance grows more heated, Government Ministers including the Prime Minister will meet with insurance bosses today to discuss ways of easing the burden on UK motorists.
The meeting will take place at Chequers and has been brought about by the fact that products such as motorhome insurance have risen by 30% in the last three years. Justine Greening the Transport Minister will be at the Prime Ministers side and the summit will also be attended by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as well as a group of motor insurance providers.
With David Cameron describing the UK as the “whiplash capital of Europe” it is thought the summit will concentrate on finding ways to bring down the cost of personal injury claims, which is the main reason insurance premiums are escalating so quickly. According to industry experts more than 10,000 whiplash claims are submitted every week. The figures are all the more surprising when road accident rates are dropping all the time and have in fact been lowered by 16% in the last couple of years.
In some European countries whiplash claims cannot be submitted if a car is travelling below a certain speed, for instance 20mph, the ABI would like to see a similar scheme introduced in the UK. Another proposal is to cut the £1,200 fee lawyers earn from small personal injury claims cases, which ministers believe would cut the costs of insurance claims immediately and stop many spurious claims from being submitted.
Certainly Justine Greening thinks lawyers are a big part of the problem saying: “From texting and cold-calling drivers involved in accidents, to running high profile advertising campaigns, lawyers are encouraging people to claim for whiplash injuries sustained in the most minor of incidents – which barely damage the car’s paintwork, never mind its driver. We recommend that the bar to receiving compensation in whiplash cases should be raised. If the number of whiplash claims does not fall significantly as a result there would, in our view, be a strong case to consider primary legislation to require objective evidence of a whiplash injury, or of the injury having a significant effect on the claimant’s life, before compensation was paid.”