General Insurance Article - ABI and Apil give contrasting views on Personal Injury rate


The Association of British Insurers and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers give differing comments on the Personal Injury discount rate change

 Commenting on today’s announcement by the Lord Chancellor of a reduction in the Discount Rate used to calculate compensation awards for serious personal injuries, Huw Evans, Director General of the Association of British Insurers, said:

 “Cutting the discount rate to -0.75% from 2.5% is a crazy decision by Liz Truss. Claims costs will soar, making it inevitable that there will be an increase in motor and liability premiums for millions of drivers and businesses across the UK. We estimate that up to 36 million individual and business motor insurance policies could be affected in order to over-compensate a few thousand claimants a year.

 “To make such a significant change to the rate using a broken formula is reckless in the extreme, and shows an utter disregard for the impact this will have on consumers, businesses and the wider operation of the insurance market.

 “We have repeatedly warned the Government that this could lead to very significant price rises, with younger drivers in particular likely to find it much harder to get affordable insurance. It is also a massive own goal that lands the NHS with a likely £1billion hike in compensation bills when it needs it the least.

 “We need a fairer deal for consumers and claimants. We cannot wait until Easter - the Ministry of Justice must commit to alternatives immediately so changes to the law can be included in the Prison and Courts Bill.”
  

 A spokesman from Apil commented: People who suffer severe life-changing injuries can now be assured that the compensation needed to look after them is calculated correctly and is sufficient to provide care for the rest of their lives. It is what they need and deserve and APIL welcomes this recognition from the Lord Chancellor.

 But we must also note that this change is long overdue. People already coping with the most severe injuries have been deprived of the help and care they need for years. Meanwhile insurance companies, which have saved millions of pounds in unpaid compensation, have been aware that a decision to change the discount rate has been on the cards for six years, since APIL first began judicial review proceedings on the issue. They have had plenty of time to prepare for this change and the fact that many are now saying premiums will have to rise to cover the cost simply beggars belief.

 We hope this decision marks a long overdue turning point towards treating injured people fairly and with understanding. It is not only the right thing to do, it takes the cost of caring for people away from the taxpayer and puts it squarely where it should be – with the person who caused the needless injury.
  

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