If Downing Street can meaningfully curb whiplash and lawyers’ fees, insurers wil be expected to lower motor rates in response

The government is set to unveil its new whiplash reforms later this week in a move that should please insurers.

Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke and transport secretary Justine Greening, who will be leading the second insurance summit with insurers and Biba on Wednesday, are expected to introduce legislation that makes it harder for claimants to get doctors’ certificates.

On the other hand, they will also seek to make it easier for genuine personal injury claims to be handled in small claims courts and to slash lawyers’ fees paid through the road traffic accident portal.

But what will be the trade-off with insurers?

At the first summit, held in February at 10 Downing Street between David Cameron and insurers, the PM Cameron pledged some big changes to whiplash, lawyers’ fees and workplace regulation, and to tackle the UK’s ‘compensation culture’.

However, the government has subsequently come under increased pressure to explain how it will cut the number and cost of whiplash claims following its muted response to the Transport Select Committee’s report on the rising cost of motor insurance.

On their part, insurers will be expected to lower the cost of motor insurance premiums in return.

Insurance pays … for some

In other news, Aviva chief executive Andrew Moss has taken the bold step to decline this year’s pay increase that the company’s remuneration committee awarded to him.

The decision follow an adverse reaction from shareholders to the insurer’s 2012 remuneration report published this month, and more companies look set to follow suit as investors bring their boards under greater scrutiny.

But despite their apparent humbleness during this age of austerity, insurance chiefs haven’t been left that badly off.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Hastings chairman Neil Utley is worth a cool £160m, while former Swinton owners Brian Scowcroft and Janet Lefton, who are now in the property market, are collectively valued at £160m.

BGL founder Douw Steyne’s wealth is put at £420m, and David and Heather Stevens of Admiral are worth £137m. Nice work if you can get it.