Whiplash raising insurance premiums
The increase in claims for whiplash injury is the main cause of the rise in motor insurance premiums, a report by MPs has said.
The Government should impose a higher threshold for the payment of any compensation in whiplash cases, the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee said.
MPs also called on the insurance industry to abandon sharp practices in the management of car accident claims. The committee also said the Government should establish a cross-departmental ministerial committee to look at reducing the cost of motor insurance.
Launching the report, committee chairman Louise Ellman said whiplash claims were very costly for insurers to challenge and this was a type of injury "where diagnosis is often subjective".
She continued: "Although we strongly support access to justice, drivers should not be railroaded by cold callers into launching legal action.
"The insurance industry must abandon sharp practices that push up premiums such as passing drivers' personal data to other parties or taking secretive referral fees from solicitors, garages and car hire firms."
The report said that the rise in personal injury claims, most of which were for whiplash injuries, was "the main reason for the rise in premiums".
It added: "It is difficult to diagnose whiplash objectively and this has deterred insurers from defending claims in court.
"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."
Shadow transport minister John Woodcock said: "This out-of-touch Government has so far rejected Labour proposals to limit whiplash claims. They should now swallow their pride and act to ease eye-watering insurance costs for hard-pressed motorists."