Some of you cynics out there might think the government would need to have some nerve to take anyone to task with the recent splurge of malpractice claims it has been attracting, but never slow to indulge in a generous helping of hypocrisy, government ministers have grilled insurance industry insiders over their plans to tackle the rising number of whiplash claims.
In the UK whiplash claims alone are responsible for increasing the cost of car insurance, van insurance and courier insurance by £90 on each and every policy sold. Whiplash claims are clearly becoming farcical. For those who suffer a genuine injury and require medical assistance and time off work as a result, they should be entitled to an appropriate amount of compensation to cover their financial loss. However, the simple statistic that the overall number of road accidents in the UK has fallen for the past five years whilst whiplash claims have risen shows just how many people are abusing the system.
Recent research has shown that the average claim for whiplash is settled for £12,500, but only £2,500 of this actually finds its way to the victim, with the remaining £10,000 eaten up in solicitor’s fees. Ending our claim culture is the only way to reduce van and courier insurance premiums to a sensible amount, and of course the first step is to contest whiplash claims more fiercely to determine those that are fallacious.
The group suffering the most from the increasing cost of premiums are younger drivers, for whom car insurance can easily cost more than the value of their car. It is true that accident rates amongst the youngest drivers are the highest of any group, but that has always been the case; it is only experience that can improve their ability, and without insurance it is impossible to gain the experience young drivers need.
The insurance industry has taken certain measures such as increasing use of telemetrics, calling for a total ban on alcohol and trying to bring to an end crammer courses just before driving tests. These measures make sense but they are unlikely to have an effect on prices in the short term.
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