Liverpool: Whiplash Capital of Britain

Liverpool can now boast a second title to add to its collection that currently includes European Capital of Culture (2008) after it has been revealed that over half of all road accidents in the Northern city result in injury claims.

55% of all road accidents in Liverpool resulted in injury claims last year, compared to the nationwide average of 30%.

Even the national average though is up 1.5% from last year, when the rate of claims dropped by just over 5% following legislation introduced to help clamp down on fraudulent claims.

The increase and high levels generally are thought to be partly down to the ever growing number of claims management companies operating in the UK. In the North West, where Liverpoolís 55% accident to claims rate contributed significantly to a regional average of 43%, there are more than 500 claims management companies working, with 277 of them specialising in personal injury claims. Compare this to the 281 firms in Greater London and the paltry 179 in the West Midlands.

David Brown, of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) pointed out that this rise in claims is likely to translate into increased cost of insurance policies, particularly in areas like Liverpool.

He said: ìthe impact of recent claims inflation will be greatest in those areas of the country with the most claims. This will mean the pressure to increase premiums will be greatest there too ñ and here I fear that Liverpool is at the front of the queue.î

ìCMCs [claims management companies]î he added, ìcurrently make it much easier for claimants in cities like Liverpool to make claims as they assist individuals in making claims for items such as compassion and provide access to solicitors.î

The government has been put under increasing pressure to investigate these claims management companies as part of a bid to ultimately eliminate fraudulent whiplash claims ñ a phenomenon that has been the bane of the insurance industry for a long time since they are such hard claims to either verify or falsify. Indeed car insurance premiums have gone up by around 2% each year in the last seven years ñ bogus whiplash claims are a bit factor in this.

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