For the government, assaults on claims are about ideology, not evidence.
The scores are in, the results are not in doubt: the government has won its battle with RTA claims.
This week saw the publication of claims figures for the first full year since the implementation of the Jackson reforms and a 60% cut in fixed recoverable fees.
The evidence is impossible to argue with: claims are significantly down.
In total, from May 2013 to April this year there were 772,989 claims notification forms filed with the RTA portal. The same period in 2012/13 saw 883,284. For those interested, that’s a 12.5% fall.
The government has made it harder and less profitable to run cases and has got its desired outcome: the numbers are coming down.
But for PI practitioners hoping for respite from an aggressive reform agenda, there is only likely to be disappointment. Like sharks sensing blood and thirsting for more, the insurers are not finished yet.
Indeed, suddenly the narrative has shifted so that ministers are being told the only way to preserve these promising figures is to reform more.
At last week’s Association of British Insurers conference, delegates were in full back-slapping mode as they toasted a 14% reduction in premiums in the last year.
This was, of course, part of the promise made to the Ministry of Justice in return for some very favourable policies.
Alas, the insurers were only too keen to point out the reduction was due to their own reserves being dipped into, reserves that were strangely unavailable in the years of sky-rocketing premiums.
But these reserves would only last for so long, they warned, so once again the insurers held out their begging bowl and asked Chris Grayling for more.
Grayling (in the form of his civil servant representative Robert Wright) said the small claims limit might once again be looked at, while fixed recoverable fees could be extended. Once again, the insurers are saying ‘jump’ and the government is asking ‘how high’. It looks like a done deal, pure and simple.
The direction of travel is now crystal clear: claimants can produce all the stats they like, they can point to reduced claims figures and falling premiums – all will fall on deaf ears.
This war on claims is about ideology, not evidence, and the government is far from finished yet.
John Hyde is a Gazette reporter