November 21, 2016

Blimey, that was quick! No sooner have insurers had a little whinge about HMG’s inaction on whiplash than HMG launches a ferocious crack down on compensation claims of every conceivable kind (especially those worth less than £5,000.00).

Encouraged by insurers’ promise to pass on £40 a head to Britain’s motorists (how could that not be a vote winner!) the Ministry of Justice has officially declared the current number of whiplash claims “unacceptably high” and is planning to crack down hard on this scourge of affordable motor insurance policies by scrapping the right to compensation for anything trivial and requiring people found guilty of claiming for whiplash injuries to wear a distinctive cap.

Before they do that, however, they’ve decided to do a bit of consulting on these new proposals. Insurers will probably be OK with them – seeing as they came up with them in the first place – but almost inevitably self-serving legal types will have a little whine and a moan about ‘access to justice’ and all that nonsense. Who needs access to justice when there’s £40 quid a year just waiting to be claimed!

Other stuff to be consulted on includes: a) a fixed-price see-through menu of compensation payments for cervical injuries that might actually be real or quite serious or something, b) stopping anyone with a claim worth less than £5k from having legal representation, and c) banning insurers from making offers to would-be whiplash claimants who don’t have a proper sick note from MedCo.

These measures, HMG hopes, will slash average whiplash pay-outs from just shy of £2k to well under £500. This will allow insurance companies to a) cheer their long-suffering shareholders up a bit b) launch a brutal price war with one another, or c) make good on that forty quid a head promise.

The whiplash crack down (whipcrack as it is now being called) has been all over the papers and radio recently. Here,  for example, you can hear Uvavu’s Andrea Moreish outlining what they’ve told the Government to do – or here  you can hear (at 31:12) self-serving solicitor Tom Jones on the Paddy Vine show claiming that insurers are using whiplash as a sort of a cross between a fig leaf and a blunderbuss to stop injured little people standing up to the sinister might of insurance companies – and also some lassie called Lizzy Truss who says we are all paying a billion pounds a year to fund giveaways to whiplash scammers – and that legislation to make sure the system works fairly for everyone (except bad people) is urgently needed.

And ultimately, you know, she’s right: because there’s simply too much incentive in the system now for people to seek redress for bad stuff that gets done to them. Insurers’ new legislation should fix that good and proper. And about time too!

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