Proposals include a reduced limitation period, minimum injury thresholds and pre-calculated compensation levels
Aviva has put forward a number of proposals to fight the cost of whiplash claims, which it estimates costs the insurance industry £2.5bn a year.
The insurer said that 80% of the motor claims it received in 2014 involved whiplash, compared to just 3% of claims in France and 47% in Germany.
New proposals in the report, Road to Reform, include:
- A reduced limitation period – all whiplash and soft tissue injuries must be claimed for within 12 months of the accident;
- Minimum injury thresholds – symptoms must persist for longer than three months for a claim to be made;
- Disability levels – medical reports assess the % of disability caused by the accident, with only those exceeding a certain level receiving compensation; and
- Compensation tariffs – any compensation paid should be set against a ‘clear, transparent’ tariff dependent on the severity of the injury.
Aviva chief executive Maurice Tulloch said: “Whiplash remains an easy target for fraudsters, claims management companies and even opportunistic motorists who have not suffered an injury to ‘have a go’ and claim compensation,” he said.
“As long as there are financial incentives to pursue low-level injury claims with no real risk of incurring legal costs and without objective proof of being injured as a requirement, these problems will continue to plague insurers and their customers.”
Claims director Rob Townend told Insurance Times that in addition to reducing the incentives for making a whiplash claim, the proposals would also reduce the time it took to process a claim, therefore cutting costs and providing claimants with an improved service.
“[These proposals] will compress the process, and force people to think about treatment, diagnosis and notifying people they want to make a claim a lot quicker,” he said. “The quicker you deal with anything in the claims department the better it is.
“But, more importantly, you are treating the consumer’s symptoms a lot quicker.”
The report builds on previous recommendations published last year by Aviva, which suggested banning referral fees outright, compensating minor whiplash claims with treatment rather than cash, and increasing the small claims track limit to £5,000 from £1,000.