'Rehabilitation can work but at the moment the industry is "full of talk but no action," said Helen Merfield.

She gave examples of how rehabilitation has saved insurers money and allowed people to get back to work quickly.

"The biggest problem insurers have is the training of staff. The people who settle claims do not have the understanding and training to try and find an alternative way to settle."

How insurers viewed rehab was also a problem, she said. "It is even the perception of rehab.

"When I explain to anyone in the industry I work in rehab they immediately presume its drug rehabilitation," she said.

She said the greatest problem was insurers' reticence to "share data" on personal injury claims. She also criticised the inertia within government departments.

"Against everything I have heard to today, the DWP has said it is behind rehab initiatives but is still doing nothing," she said.

' Helen Merfield is managing director of HCML