Jon Cawley calls for joined-up whiplash policy


Zurich has praised the Transport Committee’s inquiry into whiplash claims and has called for a joined-up approach from policymakers drawing up reforms.

Zurich motor claims director Jon Cawley said: “People who are injured in car accidents deserve help and support in getting back to full health, but for too long the system has allowed less scrupulous individuals and claims management firms to seek compensation at the expense of honest customers.

“We have been calling for government support and leadership in helping the insurance industry reduce the terrible burden associated with spurious whiplash claims. As such, we welcome the current public debate, although we would encourage policymakers to take a joined-up approach in terms of proposed reform.”

Cawley added that Zurich particularly supported the introduction of independent medical panels to assess whiplash claims.

He said: “This will ensure a more robust process in the courts - in these cases there is often little or no credible medical and biomechanical evidence, and as a result are often subject to fraud.

“We must move away from the now widely accepted consumer thinking that a minor car shunt equates to thousands of pounds in compensation, as this ultimately increases car insurance premiums for all consumers by approximately 20%.”

Cawley said the insurer believes the best ways to improve medical evidence in whiplash claims are better training for medico-legal experts and independence for the medical expert.

The insurer is also backing areas such as:

  • Ongoing development of technology such as Thatcham’s Witkit, which helps determine whiplash and neck injuries in car crashes
  • Improved education and communication around whiplash, such as raising public awareness of the impact these claims have on average car insurance premiums.