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Civil Liability Bill Mythbuster

Fiction - These reforms are not needed as whiplash claims have been falling.

FACT:

  • Despite a series of reforms and a fall in the number of road traffic accidents there has been no discernable fall in soft-tissue claims. 
  • Latest data shows that since 2005 motor personal injury claims are around 40% higher while road accidents have fallen by nearly 30%.

Fiction - Insurers cannot be trusted to pass on any savings to customers.

FACT:

  • Yes, they can – insurers have done it before and can do it again. Twenty-six ABI members, representing most of the motor insurance market, have given a written commitment to the Government to pass on cost benefits to customers if the package of measures in the Bill become law.
  • Insurers have a good track record of passing on savings to customers. Following the introduction of the original compensation reforms, between 2012 and 2014 the average private motor premium paid fell by around £50 a year from £437 to £387.
  • Motor insurance remains very competitive, with customers able to shop around for the best deals.

Fiction - Raising the small claims limit to £5,000 will restrict claimant access to justice without legal representation.

FACT:

  • The small claims limit is being raised to to £5,000 for motor personal injury claims because these claims are simple and straightforward to settle, and an expensive lawyer should not be required. The Ministry of Justice is working with claimant representatives and insurers to develop a new online claims process which will to ensure that claimants receive any additional help they may need.
  • A claimant can still seek legal representation but in future they would be responsible for paying their own legal costs. 

Fiction - People will no longer get any compensation for whiplash

FACT:

  • Compensation will still be available and will be set out in a tariff determined by the Government. Claimants will still be able to claim all medical expenses and loss of earnings as they can now. Also, claimants will be able to continue to claim for other ‘special damages’ such as damage to their vehicle, hire of alternative vehicle, and loss of earnings.

Fiction - Changes to the Discount Rate risk leaving seriously injured victims receiving inadequate compensation.

FACT: 

  • Claimants will still receive 100% compensation to meet their anticipated future long-term needs. This is about ensuring we have in place a system to set the Rate that is fair to claimants, consumers, taxpayers and compensators.
  • The new system will still be more generous than the previous one between 1999 and 2017 but will reflect the reality of how claimants currently invest their compensation.
  • Where claimants do not wish to have any investment or longevity risk, they can choose a Periodical Payment Order, where all the risk is borne by the compensator.

Fiction - Insurers are only interested in further boosting their profits

FACT:

  • This just isn’t supported by the facts. Since 1994 the motor insurance market has only made an underwriting profit in one year - 2015.
  • Insurers want honest customers to benefit from a fairer system.