Claims Lawyers and Rising Car Insurance Premiums
I have a jaundiced view of personal injury claim solicitors and their effects on the reputation of the legal profession in recent years.
I'm sure I am not alone in seeing a significant increase in my car insurance premium this year. Recently released statistics explain why.
The average increase in such premiums in the past 12 months is 40%, the biggest annual increase on record.
This is almost entirely due to both the greater number of personal injury claims encouraged by these legal eagles and to increased fraud.
In the UK, £2.7 million is paid out to personal injury lawyers every single day. On average, a fifth of all premiums go to pay for whiplash claims, £44 to cover fraudulent claims and £30 for claims generated by uninsured drivers.
Despite this, insurance companies would have us believe they are not making much profit from car insurance, if any. Really? I had never suspected them of such altruistic public spiritedness before. Perhaps if we saw a lot fewer of their intensely annoying TV adverts, they could reduce premiums a little instead of jacking them up by an inordinate amount all the time.
However, regarding Merseyside something does not compute. When I was a member of Merseyside Police Authority, the then Chief Constable was rightly cock a hoop at the success of a number of initiatives in tackling and reducing car crime.
Not only that - he told me that because of the successful widespread deployment of Automatic Number Plate Recognition, for which Merseyside was a pioneer in the UK, in two years the number of vehicles taxed and insured on Merseyside had gone up by 30,000 more than anticipated as word got round about the success of ANPR.
Yet despite significantly lower car crime here (Liverpool is barely in the top 20 areas nationwide for this) and far fewer uninsured vehicles, premiums here remain historically high compared with most other urban areas. I think the insurance companies are ripping Merseysiders off, based on the prejudices of earlier times. No doubt seeing a small number of vehicles burned out or vandalised during the recent disorder will now be cited as ex post facto justification for this.
Perhaps the Office For Fair Trading should be looking into this?
UPDATE: This piece was written before the OFT decided to look into the matter.