90% of those surveyed agreed mandatory medical examinations would deter whiplash fraudsters

Car accident whiplash

Consumers are in favour of putting measures in place to deter fraudulent whiplash claims even if it results in an increase to their premiums, according to a report published today by AXA.

In a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, AXA found that 95% supported the mandatory use of medical reports in diagnosing whiplash injuries (see below), with 89% saying this would help stop fraudulent claims and 90% agreeing it would deter exaggerated claimants.

Whiplash chart one

Furthermore, almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they would support the introduction of mandatory medical examinations even if it resulted in an increase in their premiums, with only 14% opposing the measures.

AXA claims director Chris Voller said he was encouraged that honest motorists were willing to back measures to help cut spurious whiplash claims and were calling for more to be done.

“What is encouraging to see is that there appears to be a consensus that whiplash fraud is a genuine scourge of the motor insurance industry,” he said. “Fraudulent whiplash claims undermine confidence in genuine claims relating to motor accidents and, ultimately, continues to put pressure on premiums.

“What is more, it became clear from the targeted research we conducted to support this particular report that people remain disillusioned with the current remedies and fed up with fraudulent activity. The perception is that fraud remains a systemic issue within motor insurance and, more broadly, retains its place as a permanent feature of the UK’s compensation culture landscape.”

The report also revealed broad support for a reduction in the timeframes allowed for bringing a claim.

More than two-thirds of the survey respondents said that the deadline for making a claim should be six months or less (see below), much shorter than the current three year time frame.

Whiplash chart two

Voller argued that introducing tighter timeframes, such as those used in Sweden, would help cut down on the number of claims the insurance industry has to face.

“Although the UK Government has shown no appetite to alter the status quo in terms of imposing a tighter timeframe, we would like to see a maximum time limit in the UK, similar to that used in Sweden where, typically, claims presented more than three to four days after the accident are usually rejected,” he said.

The survey respondents were also concerned with the ease at which someone could make a fraudulent whiplash claim, with 78% saying the process was open to abuse (see below).

Whiplash chart three

Almost three quarters of respondents (73%) also believe that whiplash fraud is easier to commit than other types of insurance fraud, and one in 10 people said they had either committed whiplash fraud themselves, or knew a friend or family member who had.