'Fall in whiplash claims should mean lower insurance premiums in East Lancashire' (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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'Fall in whiplash claims should mean lower insurance premiums in East Lancashire'
‘UNFAIR’ and ‘irrational’ motor insurance premiums should tumble in East Lancashire because of a drop in whiplash claims, angry campaigners have demanded.
New figures show whiplash claims in the area fell by 10 per cent this year, and MP Jack Straw is calling for more insurance companies to reflect that in the premium costs.
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.
Mr Straw said: “Part of the motor insurance premium is based on the number of personal injury claims arising from people in the area. So if you have an active personal injury specialist in the area it bumps up the claims for everyone in the area.
“The BB area has a higher than average number of claims for personal injury. Some people have seen insurance premiums double and it’s crazy.”
The number of claims has reduced from 8,423 in 2010/11 to 7,574 in 2011/ 12, according to an independent survey by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
The association also found that nationally almost 40 per cent of people who have suffered a whiplash injury have never claimed compensation for it.
The figures have been welcomed by Mr Straw, who is planning to meet with a leading motor insurance underwriter soon to discuss the issue.
According to Keogh’s law firm, which produces an annual motor fraud index, Blackburn is ranked 12th highest for motor insurance fraud – down four places from eighth in 2011.
APIL president Karl Tonks said: “The new information injects some sanity into a national debate.
“The Government appears to have been persuaded by the insurance industry that the answer to rising car insurance premiums lies in tackling whiplash claims, but the Government’s own figures show there has been a drop in these claims in the last year.
“They don’t ask to be injured and they should not be vilified for bringing legitimate claims for compensation to help get their lives back on track.”
The survey also found almost 30 per cent of respondents were encouraged to claim by their insurance companies.
Outraged motorists have formed a Facebook page called ‘Get BB postcodes insurance premiums reduced’, which has 6,000 supporters.
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