Whiplash injuries NOT solely responsible for increased car insurance costs, says JMW

16/01/2012

Richard Powell, joint head of Manchester-based JMW Solicitors’ Personal Injury Claims team, has spoken out against allegations that whiplash injury claims are responsible for increased car insurance costs. 

The claims, from MPs in the Transport Select Committee, suggested that car insurance premiums could be cut if the government restricted the number of subjective whiplash injury claims being made. 

But Powell, who has 20 years’ experience in the industry, cites an article published last month in The Telegraph where an insurance firm, who wished to remain anonymous but makes revenues of up to £500m a year, said it did not need to raise its prices because of any increased cost to them of claims, but had done so to avoid being too cheap and being swamped by new customers.  They said they did not need to increase premiums because of any increased cost to them of claims.

He said: “The Personal Injury industry has been heavily criticised  by insurers, and has tended to be painted as the bad guy  when it comes to extra expense experienced by motorists because of rising premiums in recent years.  However we are now seeing that premiums have actually gone up because motor insurers saw a chance to increase profit margins.. 

“I think it’s fair to say that if one insurer has broken ranks and admitted to researchers that they increased prices simply to follow an overall trend and to , enjoy a higher profit return on their premiums, then it is unlikely to be an isolated issue.  It concerns me that insurers are not being open and honest with the public as to the true reason for increased motor insurance costs. I would ask why the Transport Select Committee does not seem to have taken this information into account, but has simply continued to lay the blame on claims driving up costs. ”

The Telegraph article uses research from Middlesex University Business School, and quotes a senior manager from the anonymous insurance firm as explaining why it had grown its sales and profits so much as saying: “This is due to the competitors pricing of motor insurance policies, which has increased considerably in recent years. We simply raised our prices in line with the market and made more profit. We didn’t need to do this. Actually we do not want to get too much share of the market as we wouldn’t physically able to service it.”

The Office of Fair Trading has been collecting evidence on why car insurance premiums have risen so quickly in the last two years and has launched a full investigation to find out the causes.  

Ends

 

For more information:

Danielle Gibson

0161 828 8349

danielle.gibson@jmw.co.uk

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is one of the leading Manchester law firms and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.  We are committed to providing legal services in a cost effective and timely manner. 

JMW’s award-winning Personal Injury team is headed up by leading personal injury lawyers Chris Sutton and Richard Powell, who have almost forty years combined experience in personal injury law.  The team was recently announced as Claimant Team of the Year at the national Personal Injury Awards, and is ranked in Tier 2 of the Legal 500 and Chambers 2012.  It is made up of over 50 staff, the largest department in JMW, and has represented thousands of individuals across a diverse range of personal injury cases, from road accidents and accidents at work to public liability issues and mesothelioma claims, securing millions of pounds in compensation. 

To view The Telegraph article in full, visit; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/yourbusiness/8955539/Car-premiums-artificially-high-admits-insurer.html

www.jmw.co.uk

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