Government and insurers clash over whiplash claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 July 2014:

The Government and car insurance companies are currently at odds over how to handle the rising tide of personal injury compensation from whiplash claims.

Whiplash claims have been a thorn in the side for insurers for what seems like forever. Over the past decade or so though things have gotten quite horrid, what with a massive influx of scammers and fraudsters trying to weasel every last penny they can out of insurance providers by bringing spurious car accident claims. Insurers that pay out on these claims run up massive operating costs because there’s little to no actual difficulties in bringing whiplash claims in terms of proving you’ve actually been injured. It’s incredibly hard to disprove a whiplash claim, so most claimants can succeed, walking off with personal injury compensation that they don’t deserve – and causing insurers  to raise their premiums to remain in business.

The Government has had enough of this, and a new report published by MPs says that a new plan is in the works to make it a requirement for anyone making a whiplash claim to have a medical examination if they want to gain access to any insurance settlements. The idea here is that making medical examinations mandatory will help reduce or even eliminate fraud.

Of course insurers think this doesn’t go nearly far enough, simply because, well they’re insurers and they don’t want to spend any money at all if possible. Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance provider, has countered with a proposal of its own: whiplash sufferers don’t get a single penny in cash for their accident claims. Instead they would be provided free rehabilitation instead. Aviva says this could cut the yearly whiplash fraud loss by nearly half – and of course reduce the amount of cash insurers have to shell out to claimants.

This is all well and good, but for what it’s worth this means that people who have legitimately suffered whiplash could essentially be left twisting in the wind. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually had whiplash but it hurts like a right bastard – you could be laid up for weeks at a time with excruciating pain. Who’s going to pay your bills during those weeks until the pain subsides enough for you to go back to work?  I understand insurers are a greedy lot, but come on now – show some compassion!

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