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POA Press Releases

21 Nov 2016

Campaigning law firm Thompsons solicitors responds to the Ministry of Justice consultation on reforms to the small claims limit

Tom Jones, Head of Policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said:

“Despite government figures showing that the number of injury claims are down, they have allowed themselves to be bullied by insurers into reviving hugely unfair plans to remove access to justice for the injured, without producing a shred of evidence to justify them.

“Claims of a whiplash epidemic are unsubstantiated. It is astonishing the government has ignored that evidence, and has seen fit to use insurance industry propaganda on whiplash to take away access to justice from anyone who is injured, not just on the road but incredibly also those injured in the workplace.

“Data from the Association of British Insurers shows claims costs fell in 2015 – the fifth consecutive year of falling costs – and were more than 30% lower than in 2010. In effect the insurers have had a £8.73billion windfall over the last five years. And yet premiums have continued to rise.

“Their pledges to pass savings on to motorists, off the back of the MoJ’s consultation announcement, are frankly not believable.

“The claims of a £40 reduction in premiums has no independent verification and the government has said (on 5 January 2016) that it ‘will not seek to intervene’ in what it describes as ‘an intensely competitive market’ – despite the fact that just five insurance companies have over 52% market share.

“Instead of passing savings on to motorists, the insurers have paid eye-watering dividends and CEO pay. Mark Wilson, CEO of AVIVA, saw his pay increase to £5.67million in 2015 – up 118%. Dividends paid out by Admiral and Direct Line to shareholders have likewise increased to £941 million in 2015 – up 114% in two years.  All while motorists face ever higher premiums.

“If they go ahead, these government reforms will hit injury victims, on the roads and in the workplace, while lining the pockets of car insurer CEOs and their shareholders.”

ENDS

  • Government figures from the Compensation Recovery Unit confirm a significant decline in motor and workplace injury claims over the last five years up to 2015/16 (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/424356/cases-registered-cru-2014-15.csv/preview)
  • In September 2015, the average quoted premium for an annual comprehensive car insurance policy was £629, an increase of 8.1% over the year before;
  • Direct Line increased its UK motor insurance operating profit by 14% in 2015 to £338m (2014: £297m). Admiral increased its UK motor insurance profit before tax last year by 11% to £443m (2014: £398m);
  • In the last four years Direct Line and Admiral have paid out £2.856bn in dividends to their shareholders (equivalent to £350 per policy holder); and
  • Inflation applied to the £1,000 Small Claims Limit would only see it rise to around £1,600.

Media enquiries to: sarah.bartlett@freshwater-uk.com or call 0207 067 1595. Or call Tom Jones on 079 7657 4914.

Average insurance premium figures quoted from www.confused.com

The Ministry of Justice has announced a consultation on whiplash reforms embargoed until 17.11.16 00.01am

Notes

  • The government said there is a ‘fraud and claims culture in motor insurance’ - but it has produced no independent evidence to support this.
  • Industry data shows the net cost of claims incurred in the UK decreasing 30% from £8.302bn in 2010 to £5.796bn in 2015.
  • Over the same period, revenue from net written premiums fell by only 6.3% from £8.344bn to £7.816bn.
  • Visit www.thompsons.law.co.uk/CutPremiumsNow for the facts on car insurance companies.