The government has announced a package of measures designed to lower motoring costs, including the high cost of insurance premiums.
Ministers have vowed to clean up the “compensation culture,” specifically motorists making bogus claims on whiplash injuries.
By establishing independent medical panels, ministers hope to identify fraudulent or exaggerated whiplash claims in an effort to reduce car insurance premiums across the UK.
Currently, a medical report is not required for claimants to receive an offer from insurers.
“We are turning the tide on the compensation culture and helping hard-working people by tackling high insurance premiums and other motoring costs,” said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
“It’s not right that people who cheat the insurance system get away with it while forcing up the price for everyone else. So, we are now going after whiplash fraudsters and will keep on driving premiums down,” he continued.
Later, Grayling told BBC Radio 5 live that he wanted the cost reductions on whiplash claims to go towards lower premiums for drivers, instead of adding to the coffers of the insurance companies.
Louise Ellman, Labour MP and chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, said she openly embraced the package of measures recently announced, especially when it comes to whiplash claims.
“The Transport Select Committee has looked at this over a long time and very recently we recommended that insurance companies shouldn’t pay out for whiplash claims without a medical report and that those medical reports should come from independent medical practitioners,” she stated.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast, GP Dr. Rosemary Leonard said that the UK whiplash rate is “way higher” than it is in the rest of Europe. She continued by saying, “It is thought an awful lot of them are bogus.”
According to Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, “The costs of owning and running a car are felt by millions of households and businesses across the nation. The government is determined to help keep those costs down.”
AA statistics show that insurance premiums for average comprehensive policies have fallen by 12.3 percent year-to-date.
“We have long called for more robust medical assessment of whiplash claimants. Setting up independent panels of accredited experts will help the UK shake off its reputation as the whiplash capital of Europe,” said James Dalton, head of motor and liability for the Association of British Insurers.
The recent moves have also been welcomed by the AA, RAC, and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.