Whiplash reform campaigner reveals £400m insurance income

Topics: Personal injury & clinical negligence,Insurance

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One of the most vocal insurer advocates for whiplash reform has reported a 12% increase in UK motor revenues.

AXA UK & Ireland Group chief executive Paul Evans said UK direct motor income increased to £400m during the full 2015 year.


Evans said the rise was due to ‘rate increases’ and an 8% increase to one million direct motor policies in the UK.

AXA has been a prominent campaigner for personal injury reform in this country, having previously advocated a three-day limit for whiplash claims and extending the small claims track limit to £10,000.

When the government announced last year it planned to raise the limit to £5,000, Evans said the move would ensure honest motorists ‘will no longer bear the unacceptable cost of those who seek to profit from exaggerating minor accidents’.

The Ministry of Justice says insurers have promised to pass on 100% of savings from the reforms, which also include a ban on general damages for whiplash claims. AXA is not one of the two firms to have publicly pledged to pass on all savings.

The financial statement from AXA, which reveals underlying earnings were up 25% in 2015 to £312m, also suggests the firm will move across the Irish Sea in its next campaign for reform of the claims sector.

Evans said total motor revenues increased 11% to £900m due in part to premium increases of more than 30% in the Republic of Ireland ‘to reflect the material increases seen in court awards for personal injury’.

Evans added: ‘We call on the Irish government to guide the courts with a schedule of capped, consistent, injury awards which secures affordable insurance for motorists in Ireland.’

Meanwhile, latest figures suggest the number of whiplash claims is starting to come down in comparison with a year ago.

The claims portal, through which all lower-value cases must be started, has reported that 71,000 claims notification forms were created in January – down from 77,393 in the same month in 2015. This was the second consecutive month when a year-on-year fall has been reported.

The overall number of claims since April is up slightly at 643,458, compared with 637,537 at the same point a year ago.

Readers' comments (19)

  • So the number of claims is, both in absolute terms and even more when adjusted against the increase in miles driven down, the costs of claims is down and the premium take is up . . . but we're expected to believe when the number of claims and costs of claims falls further the premiums will fall. . . .

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  • Yes and meanwhile I am hearing that claims rates are only 'falling' BECAUSE there is a fast emerging increase in the number of people who are electing not to even bother getting insured, due to rising costs and diminished protection that is now being offered by these crooks. As was warned by many may well be the outcome of their scam.

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  • "Evans said the move would ensure honest motorists ‘will no longer bear the unacceptable cost of those who seek to profit from exaggerating minor accidents’."

    I just love this quote - motorists who claim are dishonest, motorists who don't claim are honest.

    What an utter piece of expletive this chap is!

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  • This partly explains to me why insurers are so keen to try and pile drive these reforms through asap. I expect most motor insurers will be sitting on big cash piles as a result of falling claims numbers and as a result of the April 2013 reforms which have slashed costs to the bone. the insurers will want the reforms in place before the announcement of their huge profits.

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  • In France insurers have to issue what is called a "vignette" which the insured has to put inside the windscreen of his car. This gives details of the insurers, the policy no., and when the contract expires. Anyone can immediately see these details therefore, or that a car, or its driver, is uninsured.

    As AXA is a French company it could quickly, easily and cheaply introduce this measure if it wanted to do so. HMG could quickly, easily and cheaply make this compulsory here if it wanted to do so. If I know about this they must also do so. I would count this one of the advantages of being "in" the EU. Why does HMG not do it, therefore? Why does AXA not do it therefore?

    And I take it as a retrograde step that we can no longer have tax discs and no longer claim a refund of road tax on the sale of a car.
    Still, we have to pay back the national debt and deficit somehow, I suppose. Hard Labour!

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  • Indeed so 12.58! I think I was reading something not very long ago about something called fundamental dishonesty. Just saying, like.

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  • Fascinating as ever David, but I'm struggling to detect much if anything at all in the relevance stakes.

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  • So the insurance industry raises their prices and then reduces them declaring a "fall" and "savings". This is no different than what Tesco and Sainsburys did a few years ago with its' misleading pricing and advertising, which triggered an investigation by the CMA.

    I recently submitted complaints to the CMA, FCA and FOS about the insurance industries tactics. The responses I received were not suprising:

    FOS - "Here at the Financial Ombudsman Service we look into complaints about financial businesses, so this doesn’t look like something we can look into. "

    FCA - "Firms are able to make a commercial decision about how much to charge for their products and services, so they can calculate their insurance premiums based on their own risk appetite. As we’re not a pricing or economics regulator, this isn’t something that we’re involved with."

    And with HMG refusing to step in and hold the insurance industry to account, it is left to the insurance industry to self regulate their prices.

    Claims have gone down (confirmed by empirical and "hard" evidence). Costs have gone down (as a consequence of the fixed costs reforms). Yet the cost of insurance has risen and AXA et al are making eye-watering profits, and we are lead to believe that we will all be saving £50 if the ABI gets its' way with further reforms.

    We, the people, are being stitched up by the ABI. And there is seemingly nothing we can do about it.

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  • Thanks, Anon. 1.52, I admit it's a bit off topic, but it has a relevance to those who drive while uninsured, to whom the main article makes reference. They are a part of the problem in that we all end up paying a higher premium than would otherwise be the case as a result of the MIB footing some of their claims and DWP paying benefits to victims of uninsured drivers.

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  • David, we have something called modern technology, indeed with little effort I came across this.


    I do however accept that this may not have featured in the balmy summer days on the promenade in 1973.

    You may also want to ask a young whippersnapper to explain ANPR.

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