Car insurance giant Aviva has decided that theyíve had enough and plan to treble the number of whiplash claims they fight in court as part of a new campaign to crack down on fraudsters.
Whiplash claims are notoriously for being fraudulently made given the difficulty in accurately diagnosing the condition. Aviva now plan to dramatically increase the number of cases they take to court, intending to challenge over a thousand cases in this year alone.
According to Aviva, the knock on effect of the thousands of whiplash fraudsters scamming the car insurance industry causes customers to pay, on average, £93 per year more for their premiums.
The problem with whiplash claims is that the average pay-out of £1,000 – 3,000 is often given out without much dispute, given the extra cost that would be incurred by the insurance company taking the case to court.
However, Aviva have decided that enough is enough and are willing to spend that extra money to take more cases to court in an effort to, ultimately, drastically cut down the number of fraudulent claims each year.
Aviva have insisted that their efforts will not reduce the number of pay-outs in genuine cases, with their spokesman saying: ìwhen our customers genuinely injure someone we pay quickly and fairly. But if we believe no injury has occurred and the claim is spurious, then we will defend our customers.î
While the typical pay-out for a whiplash case is under £5,000, when the claim is indeed found to be spurious, the judge will often make the claimant pay for all of the insurerís costs, and these bills can enter exceed £100,000. Aviva will be sure to emphasise this as a deterrent for those planning on making fraudulent claims.
Recent reform in the relevant legal processes has made the challenging of claims by insurance companies easier. Nigel Teasdale from insurance law specialist firm DWF said, on the subject, ìin the past if you were to challenge claims you could end up paying £25,000 in costs because they werenít restricted. The reforms mean you only pay a more predictable and restricted amountÖ Two or three years ago there seemed little point in defending cases, but judges are now becoming more analytical about claims.î
As well as making the legal process itself more worthwhile for the insurers, the government has made other efforts to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims including putting a cap on the fees lawyers could earn from taking on whiplash cases and banning referral fees.
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