Whiplash 'Epidemic'

Whiplash injury claims add £66 to every motor insurance policy

14 November 2008

Press Embargo: 00.01 on Friday 14 November 2008

illustration of head movement in whiplash - photo courtesy Insurance Bureau of Canada

AA supports ABI report exposing cost of whiplash 'epidemic'

Whiplash personal injury claims are placing increasing pressure on motor insurance premiums, according to AA Car Insurance. The AA has contributed to a report by the Association of British Insurers which shows that 1,200 people claim for whiplash injury every day following a motor collision, an increase of 25 per cent over the past five years.

The report, 'Tackling whiplash: prevention, care, compensation', says that 430,000 people claimed for whiplash injury in 2007, costing the insurance industry £1.9bn in compensation.

AA comment

According to Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance:

"The cost of whiplash claims equates to about £66 for every UK car insurance policy, or about 14 per cent of the average Shoparound car insurance premium1. This is more than twice the cost of claims for accidents with uninsured drivers2.

"Over the past year, the average quoted Shoparound premium for a comprehensive car insurance policy increased by 8.7 per cent1 and whiplash injury will become an increasingly important factor in future premium increases."

However, Edmund King, president of the AA, points out that most whiplash injuries are avoidable:

"Drivers and passengers can help prevent themselves becoming victims of whiplash by adjusting head restraints before they drive off. The top of the head restraint should be level with the top of the driver's head, while the back of the head should be as close as possible to, and ideally touching, the restraint.

"Drivers can avoid inflicting whiplash on themselves and others by keeping a safe distance – at least two seconds – from the vehicle ahead."

Factfile

1 According to the benchmark AA British Insurance Premium Index, over the 12 months to October 2008 the average 'Shoparound' premium quoted for an annual comprehensive car insurance policy increased by 8.7 per cent to £486.45

2 For every car insurance policy issued, insurers contribute approximately £30 to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) in order to compensate the victims of accidents with uninsured drivers (source: AA/ABI)

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14 November 2008
whiplash photo is courtesy Insurance Bureau of Canada