Whiplash reform campaigner reveals £400m insurance income
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.