In response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on reforms to the small claims limit, Tom Jones, Head of Policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said:

“Despite government figures showing that the number of injury claims are down, they have allowed themselves to be bullied by insurers into reviving hugely unfair plans to remove access to justice for the injured, without producing a shred of evidence to justify them.

“Claims of a whiplash epidemic are unsubstantiated. It is astonishing the government has ignored that evidence, and has seen fit to use insurance industry propaganda on whiplash to take away access to justice from anyone who is injured, not just on the road but incredibly also those injured in the workplace.

“Data from the Association of British Insurers shows claims costs fell in 2015 – the fifth consecutive year of falling costs – and were more than 30% lower than in 2010. In effect the insurers have had a £8.73billion windfall over the last five years. And yet premiums have continued to rise.

“Their pledges to pass savings on to motorists, off the back of the MoJ’s consultation announcement, are frankly not believable.

“The claims of a £40 reduction in premiums has no independent verification and the government has said (on 5 January 2016) that it ‘will not seek to intervene’ in what it describes as ‘an intensely competitive market’ – despite the fact that just five insurance companies have over 52% market share.

“Instead of passing savings on to motorists, the insurers have paid eye-watering dividends and CEO pay. Mark Wilson, CEO of AVIVA, saw his pay increase to £5.67million in 2015 – up 118%. Dividends paid out by Admiral and Direct Line to shareholders have likewise increased £941 million in 2015 – up 114% in two years. All while motorists face ever higher premiums.

“If they go ahead, these government reforms will hit injury victims, on the roads and in the workplace, while lining the pockets of car insurer CEOs and their shareholders.”

Thompsons has been actively campaigning against the government’s proposals to raise the small claims limit for road traffic accident victims. For more information, visit the Small Claims, Big Impact page.

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