Car crash claims rise by a fifth

Car crash personal injury claims have risen 18pc, despite the number of accidents falling.

Despite a fall in traffic accidents, the number of people making personal injury claims has risen by a fifth and is costing the insurance industry £400m a year.

New figures from the Actuarial Profession have shown that despite an 11pc fall in the number of road accidents in 2011, personal injury claims rose by 18pc and is likely to mean a rise in insurance premiums for drivers..

The year-on-year rise in bodily-injury claims between 2010 and 2011 was the highest ever, with the increase adding about £400m to insurers' costs last year, said the report.

There appeared to be a "clear correlation" between location of claims management companies' offices and the "hot spots" for personal injury claims, said David Brown, the chairman of the working party which produced the report.

Accident damage claims vs number of claims companies. Image: Institute and Faculty of Actuaries


With legislation expected soon affecting the way claims companies do business, the big rise in bodily-injury claims last year may have been "a last hurrah", Mr Brown said.

Most bodily-injury claims last year came from people in north-west England, with this area overtaking the worst regions of the US in terms of the proportion of accidents involving a bodily-injury claim.

There were a particularly large number of claims from Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

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Mr Brown said: "The increase in costs to insurers because of the rise in bodily-injury claims is likely to result in a rise in motor insurance premiums for drivers.

"The clear correlation between claims management companies' office locations and the 'hot spots' for bodily injury claims suggests that the two are interlinked."

He went on: "We expect to see legislation coming soon which will affect the way in which claims management companies do business, which may account for the significant increase seen in 2011. It is possible this is a last hurrah.

"In 2010 the worst areas of the UK overtook the worst areas of the US in terms of the proportion of accidents involving bodily injury. It is disappointing to see this trend not only continue, but worsen in all regions with the exception of Scotland."