The Association of British Insurers has branded a Capital Economics report into the falling rate of soft tissue injury claims as “fake news”.
The report, commissioned by Access to Justice, claims that since 2007 the total amount paid out by insurers for whiplash or soft tissue injury claims has fallen by 17%, while over the same period motorists have seen a 72% increase in the cost of car insurance.
Rob Cummings, head of motor and liability at the Association of British Insurers, said: "Conspiracy theorists Access to Justice are now suggesting, in the face of overwhelming independent evidence, that instead of getting safer our roads have got more dangerous.
"A report from a claimant lawyer lobby group which opens with such fake news does not have a shred of credibility. Since 2001 road traffic accidents have halved while claims for soft tissue injury have doubled."
The report claims that the fall in motor accidents recorded by the police reflects the reduced likelihood of an incident being reported rather than a reduction in accidents overall.
It states that a "key contributing factor" is the decline in the number of police traffic officers by nearly 37% between 2003 and 2014.
Access to Justice spokesman Andrew Twambley said: "The cold hard truth is that insurers have been squeezing their customers for price increases for years, and then accusing many of those self-same customers of being frauds or chancers if they have the temerity to make a claim."
Mark Pragnell of Capital Economics, who wrote the report, said: "The research shows a direct correlation between premiums rising after 2008, and a reduction in investment returns.
"If insurers hadn't increased their premiums, their profits would have slumped and they would have been forced to cut their dividend payouts."
Access to Justice said that the report has been sent to Ministry of Justice ministers.
Twambley added: "We call on the government to see the ABI's campaign to ban personal injury claims for what it really is, an attempt to hoodwink ministers into helping insurers shore up their profits by taking away ordinary peoples' rights."
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