Do anything it takes to get cheaper rates

Market review for the week of 17 Mar 2013:

It’s not just me that’s been saying ‘take drastic measures,’ either, as this week the Association of British Insurers have urged the Government to take steps to help lower car insurance and van insurance rates by as much as 20 per cent simply by setting new driver safety standards. The ABI says that younger motorists in particular could see as much as £370 shaved off their yearly insurance premiums, and that’s no laughing matter, now is it?

The problem with the current standard right now, the ABI said, is that younger drivers are taught to drive in a way that’s simply ‘not fit for purpose,’ and this applies to whether you’re driving a Vauxhall Astra or a Ford Transit – if you’re not learning how to be safe behind the wheel you’re more likely to get involved in an accident, and that means insurance costs are going to remain astronomically high. Meanwhile, you could reverse this upward creep on premium prices simply by instituting better teaching methods that instill safer driving in the nation’s up and coming motorists, which will result in less expensive cover for everyone.

Meanwhile, MPs are looking for ways to control insurance costs as well, though their approach is to look into how much whiplash injury claims are diving up personal vehicle and commercial van insurance alike. In particular, the Commons Transport Committee wants to delve into why the UK has somehow become the place where you go if you’ve got a weak neck, as we’re currently the ‘whiplash capital of the world; with the number of payouts for whiplash going through the roof.

The committee is keenly examining how much that fraud could be driving up costs for everyone. There’s no doubt that fraud is indeed a problem, especially as the number of claims keep going up every year even as the number of reported accidents actually go down,  but it remains to be seen how much of an impact fabricated or exaggerated injuries actually do drive up premium prices – and what action – if any – can be taken to stamp fraudulent claims out.

For what it’s worth, it’s hard to put your finger on what whiplash injury is just a load of bollocks and which one is legitimate, thanks to the fact that there’s no real definitive test that a doctor can run to prove a patient is suffering from whiplash. It’s a soft tissue injury, and it won’t show up on an x-ray or an MRI, so all you have to go on is what the patient tells you: a good liar can mimic the symptoms of whiplash all too easily I’m afraid!

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