Insurers welcome the whiplash compensation reform introduced in the Civil Liability Bill, while personal injury lawyers warn against its unintended consequences.
Martin Milliner, claims director at LV, calls it a great opportunity to eradicate spurious whiplash claims while preserving compensation for the most catastrophically injured. He says this will enable motor insurers to return £35 to every policyholder.
However, Donna Scully, director at Carpenters, stresses proper regulation is needed to prevent claims management companies from entering the small PI claims market. She urges the industry to work together to get the details of the reform right for people genuinely injured in road traffic accidents.
Howard Grand, director of Legal UK general insurance at Aviva Broker, explains a process must now be designed for those who need to make a claim. “We’re all committed to passing on the savings” to motorists, he says.
Shirley Denyer, technical director at the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, notes the Bill is “just one part of a very significant package of reforms” and that other measures are needed to deliver on the desired aims of the legislation.
Jon Cawley, head of claims at NFU Mutual, hopes the future claims process will “take a lot of cash out of the system”, as it tends to fuel inappropriate behaviour. He predicts competition within the insurance market will make sure cost savings will be reflected in the pricing.
However, Simon Stanfield, chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, notes the frequency of claims might actually increase. Solicitors were filtering out claims that had little chances of success for liability. If they’re removed from the market and replaced by CMCs, these claims will now be brought to court. He says that the Bill won’t have the desired effect, adding “it doesn’t address the issue of the innocent accident victim”.
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