Road traffic accidents and car crashes: nobody wins

Industry news roundup: week ended 14 July 2014:

You might think that people who make successful car accident claims come out on top, but the sad truth is everyone suffers when traffic accident figures are up.

Sure, you can get a big fat personal injury compensation award if you’re injured in a RTA, but you know that money has to come from somewhere, right? Well it’s not coming from the other driver directly – it comes from insurance companies, and their coffers don’t get filled without charging their customers for insurance cover. The more accident claims an insurer loses, the more money it spends – and the more it has to raise its rates on its customers to make up the shortfall.

Now that’s just the way things work – nobody really wins. However, everyone loses no matter what – and in times where traffic accidents – and traffic accident claims – increase, it’s pain for everyone. Sadly that’s what’s going on right now – in fact new research has said that the number of dangerous accidents occurring on 20mph roads in particular have gone up by 26 per cent over the past 12 months, if data from the Institute of Advanced Motorists can be trusted. The more accidents there are, the higher a chance for injuries to occur – and we’re all going to have to suffer. So for pity’s sake don’t drive like a pillock!

Of course, sometimes insurance companies are targeted directly by accidents – often in completely unexpected ways. In fact, this week saw an ambulance plowing through a pair of steel bollards and careering through a glazed shopfront before coming to rest in the office of an insurance company’s chief executive! Somehow everyone escaped harm, including the driver of the ambulance (who lost control in the wake of a collision) and every single insurance company employee that was there that day. Surely a stroke of dumb luck that there was no one hurt or killed. Still, I’m rather sure that the insurer’s costs to repair their shopfront are going to have a heavy impact on their bottom line – and that means their customers are going to feel the pain too. It’s a vicious cycle, and it drives me mad to think there’s no way out.

Seriously injured awarded compensation for car accidents

Industry news roundup: week ended 7 July 2014:

Road traffic accident claims can be some of the most expensive for insurers – as demonstrated by two massive compensation awards in the news this week.

When it comes to the types of injuries you can sustain in car accidents, it’s hard to find more serious and life-changing ones. In fact the only other place I can think that such massively debilitating injuries can occur would be in the construction or manufacturing industries, having seen some truly impressive work accident claims myself; not to denigrate or diminish the pain and suffering of someone caught in such an accident at work, but it does seem more tragic when it involves a moving vehicle for some reason. Perhaps because they’re much more high-profile, especially in cases where drivers or passengers are left wheelchair bound.

That’s exactly what happened to 21 year old Joe Heaton, who was the passenger in a vehicle when it smashed into a tree on the A30 near Bradford Abbas three years ago. The injured man, whose spine suffered enough damage to remove his ability to walk, was just rewarded what the courts are calling a ‘substantial’ personal injury compensation package. Part of the terms of the agreement mean the exact sum will not be publicised, but considering how he will be receiving index-linked payments for the rest of his life in addition to a weighty lump sum the total value is surely in the millions.

The poor man luckily suffered no cranial damage, meaning his ability to think and reason – as well as communicate effectively – is thankfully intact. However, other people injured in car wrecks are not so lucky; in fact, another man who was a passenger in a vehicle that flipped on its roof during a crash might be £2.3 million richer, but his cognitive ability is sadly lessened as a result of the injury. It’s tragic and unfair – even more so when the injuries occur to passengers and not drivers, as there’s no one to point the finger and say that they were partly responsible for the accident – and it’s even more telling when brain injury is involved. A sad day for these poor blokes; no amount of cash, however much, will restore their bodies and minds.

Injured woman snubbed whilst drug dealer gets compensation

Industry news roundup: week ended 30 June  2014:

Well here’s one you won’t believe: this week, it came to light that whilst an injured pensioner was denied compensation, a drug dealer was awarded damages.

In a world that has apparently gone completely barmy, pensioner Trixie Offord fell, tripping over a pothole, and suffered facial injuries and a broken wrist yet received not a single penny in personal injury compensation because Bucks County Council’s last inspection of the pothole decided it was ‘not dangerous.’  The injury occurred two weeks after that inspection, but the council won’t take into account that the pothole might have worsened over that period of time. Talk about a complete set of bastards, eh?

Meanwhile, a drug dealer has just been cleared to make a car accident claim after his road traffic accident left him with life-changing injuries. Bedworth, Warwickshire native Sean Delaney had to be cut from the wreck of the Mercedes 500SL that had been driven by a friend of his. That’s right, this fine upstanding citizen was found with something like 240 grams of cannabis stuffed in his jacket pocket, yet he was never criminally prosecuted. Most likely because he was in a coma for nearly a month after the incident only to wake up with bleeding no the brain, a punctured lung, and broken bones in his pelvis, arm and both legs.

Now normally I wouldn’t be so upset by the fact that this man is making an accident claim for hundreds of thousands, but he’s a bloody drug dealer. Does he really deserve the help? And especially when you’ve got a poor old pensioner not getting a bloody cent for tripping over a damned pothole and breaking her wrist? What’s wrong with the world? If there was any justice the fates of these two people would be reversed – Delaney would be laid up with horrid injuries with no hope of compensation, and Mrs Offord would have a nice big cheque to deposit.

Insurers up in arms over car accident claim figures

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Apr 2014:

The British insurance industry has had it with the state of the car accident claims sector amidst complaints that crash for cash schemes are running rampant.

If there’s anything the insurance industry hates – especially the car insurance industry – it’s paying out on accident claims. The occasional road traffic accident happens of course, and it’s part of doing business, but some insurers are apparently convinced that there’s a major fraud problem when it comes to things like whiplash claims and other crash for cash scams.

Well, this week new data was released by major insurer Aviva saying that it has evidence that there was almost 20 per cent more fraud last year than there was the year before. Aviva blamed packs of roving gangs perpetrating the crime and also complained that there just wasn’t enough to deter criminals from engaging in the behaviour.

Now whether or not this is accurate is really anyone’s guess. I mean an insurer will do pretty much anything and everything to reduce the amount of money they pay out on an annual basis to policyholders, so people making road traffic accident claims are obviously going to be scrutinised. A large problem is indeed that there’s no real deterrents in place, but this may be changing soon as well thanks to another news story I read this week concerning how one insurer is actually offering 10 per cent off the cost of annual cover if they fit a dashboard camera to their car to capture the details of any accidents they happen to be involved in.

Part of me thinks this is a good idea in that a motorist can prove though dashboard camera footage that they really weren’t responsible for an accident that they were involved in. At the same time, do we really need more cameras watching our every move? The number of CCTV cameras in the UK alone is massive and I would really like to have a bit of privacy once and while. That 10 per cent discount seems paltry in comparison, especially if it’s the price of giving up our freedom. Besides what’s to stop insurers from keeping an eye on us at all times and not just during accidents? I don’t need them raising my insurance premium because they catch me occasionally exceeding the speed limit or braking too hard. Nosy bastards!

ABI launches new code whilst Biba follows in its footsteps

Industry news roundup: week ended 17 Feb 2014:

This week, both the Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers Association have committed to new codes of conduct to kerb criticism.

Apparently ABI members have had it up to here with accusations of poor behaviour when it comes down to things like road traffic accident claims and personal injury compensation, since they’ve gone ahead and published a brand new Code of Conduct. Now, any insurance customers of an ABI member that signed on to the new code can look forward to newer levels of transparency when it comes to personal injury lawyers that work for a particular insurer and a commitment to not not receiving any pressure to make a claim if the customer would rather not.

Some of the largest and most influential insurers operating in the UK have already signed on, such as LV, Allianz, Co-operative, Admiral, and Axa. It’s nice to see so many insurers finally caving to the intense societal pressure to be decent to their customers instead of right bastards, though I do have some misgivings about how strictly this new code will be enforced! I suppose I’m just a bit of a sceptic. 

Meanwhile, Biba has taken a step from the ABI’s playbook and announced its own code of practice as well. The new code is geared towards the same things that the ABI one is – protecting the interests of customers who may need to make personal injury claims – though the wording of the code of practice is much different since the industry body is composed of brokers and not insurers directly.

Again, I’m right impressed that Biba has gone along and followed the ABI’s lead. Then again it’s not surprising in that most insurance broking firms are in that strange Limbo state of being both needed yet distrusted by policyholders and insurers alike, since they act as intermediaries for a profit. Personally I wouldn’t want to work as a broker, considering you’ve got to balance the needs of your customer against the needs of the insurer if you want to be successful. That just sounds like much too much pressure for me to be under at any given time!