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Crackdown on bogus whiplash claims welcomed in East Lancashire
A GOVERNMENT crackdown on bogus whiplash claims has been welcomed by MPs and insurers as helping cut motor premiums in East Lancashire’s BB postcode.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced the move in a package of measures to cut motoring costs.
He pledged to crack down on the ‘compensation culture’ of claims for whiplash injuries. Independent medical panels will be set up to identify exaggerated or fraudulent claims.
Currently, insurers can make an offer to claimants without a medical report.
The BB postcode – which covers Blackburn, Burnley, Rossendale, Accrington, Pendle and the Ribble Valley – is one of the most expensive in the country for premiums. Insurers say whiplash claims cost them £2bn a year, which is equivalent to £90 per policy.
Mr Straw said: “I’ve been calling for reforms in the way whiplash claims are handled for some time and therefore very much welcome yesterday’s announcement. Independent medical panels will, if they are set up correctly, raise the bar on claims for whiplash and should help weed out fraudulent claims.
“This should help to cut motor insurance premiums in East Lancashire, where prices for the great majority of honest people have been pushed up by unscrupulous claims management firms and claimant lawyers – and individuals themselves who believe that insurance companies are fair game.
“I regret, however, that the government appears to have decided not to go ahead with plans to raise the small claims track limit from £1,000 to £5,000.”
Mr Birtwistle said: “I welcome this move which should cut BB postcode insurance premiums. “It will mean genuine claims get paid out and bogus claimants don’t.”
James Dalton, from the Association of British Insurers, said: "Setting up independent panels of accredited experts will help the UK shake off its reputation as the whiplash capital of Europe.
"Increasing the small track claims threshold from £1,000 to £5,000 would provide not only a more cost-effective way of settling genuine whiplash claims, but ensure lower motor premiums can be sustained.”
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