The insurance industry has insisted that further personal injury reforms are needed despite reporting a fall in the cost of motor premiums.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) yesterday confirmed the cost of the average motor insurance policy dropped by 9% during 2013 compared with 2012. The figure was based on data from ABI members who make up 90% of the motor insurance market.
Last year saw significant changes to low-value PI claims, with the advent of the Jackson reforms and a 60% cut in fixed fees for claimant solicitors.
But ABI head of motor insurance James Dalton (pictured) said the falling cost of premiums does not justify an end to the reform agenda.
He said: ‘The 9% fall in the average comprehensive motor premium last year shows that insurers are fulfilling the commitment they made to the government to pass savings from changes to the civil litigation system to hard-pressed motorists through lower car insurance premiums.
‘But more can be done to get premiums even lower which is why the government needs to press ahead with tackling exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims which honest motorists are sick of paying for through their insurance premiums.’
The average cost of a motor insurance policy by the end of 2013 was £370, down from £406 at the end of 2012.
Insurers are this month set to join claimant representatives and members of the legal profession to start to thrash out plans for independent panels to diagnose whiplash.
But the ABI has indicated it would like further changes including the increase in the small-claims court threshold – effectively taking solicitors out of the low-value claims process. The government rejected the change after last year’s consultation into whiplash but has not ruled out looking again at the idea.
Claimant representatives will point to figures from Claims Portal, which runs the system for low-value claims, showing a significant drop in the number of new cases in recent months.
According to statistics published today, the number of claim notification forms created in November was 67,037 – a 14% drop from the same month in 2012.
For the seven months following the Jackson reforms and fee cuts, the total number of new claims stood at 441,270. This compared with 498,882 over the same period in 2012 – a fall of 11.5%.