31 Jan The effectiveness of the “whiplash reforms” thus far has been examined by APIL.
Reduced insurance rates
Lower auto insurance prices were promised as a result of the measures by the government and insurers. They have utterly failed to deliver so far.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the cost of auto insurance has grown by 19% since the amendments were implemented in the second quarter of 2021. The cost of injury claims received by auto insurers has decreased by 15% over the same time frame. Although insurance costs have decreased, drivers’ insurance premiums have continued to grow.
A user-friendly method for in-person litigants
In order to handle claims impacted by the revisions, a new online platform, the Official Injury Claim (OIC) was developed. The objective behind this new method was to give people a simple means of asserting their own claims without the assistance of a lawyer. The truth is that unrepresented claimants are obviously finding it difficult to navigate the system.
Unrepresented claimants have made 24,478 calls to the OIC’s help centre since the system’s introduction, out of just 38,438 total claims. This indicates that more than six requests for assistance are being submitted for every ten unrepresented claimants. The fact that there were so many calls among the very few claims shows that the OIC is not the user-friendly system that the government had claimed it to be. Imagine any other online system where six calls to your support centre are placed for every ten clients.
It is not unexpected that the system hasn’t been much used by the in-person litigants it was intended for. Only a tiny minority, or 9% of those who have filed claims utilising the system, have gone it alone; the vast majority have been represented by lawyers.
Justice is still available
The number of road accident victims who have access to justice has significantly decreased after the introduction of the changes, reflecting these struggles.
Despite an 11% increase in road fatalities during the same period, the number of vehicle injury claims reduced by 20% in 2021—the year the revisions were implemented—compared to 2020. In essence, more people were getting hurt, but fewer claims were made. This indicates that fewer people were seeking compensation after suffering a road injury.
An analysis of the data per quarter reveals how the introduction of the reforms was accompanied by this difference in claims and road fatalities. After the regulations were implemented in the second quarter of 2021, the number of traffic fatalities sharply soared to levels recorded before the pandemic. Despite this, the quantity of motor vehicle injury claims kept declining. Road casualties were only 7% below their pre-pandemic level by the fourth quarter of 2021, despite automotive injury claims being 40% below their pre-pandemic level.