Forty quid off insurance premiums, said the BBC and a plethora of other news outlets, all of which swallowed the industry’s PR line hook, line and sinker.
Not to mention the Government’s line, which was sold to it by, you’ve guessed it, the insurance industry.
It comes in the wake of the Ministry of Justice’s decision to embark on what is being billed as a “crackdown” on whiplash related compensation claims.
The industry has been banging on about these for years. They’re fraudulent, we tell you, fraudulent!
So here’s the thing, if allegedly fraudulent whiplash claims are such a problem, why do the industry’s own figures show that the cost of personal motor claims have fallen every year since 2010. Some £5.8bn was paid out in 2015 against £8.3bn in 2010, a fall of 30 per cent. And yet the cost of premiums started to rise at the end of 2013.
But you don’t have to take my word for that. The numbers are available on the website of the Association of British Insurers.
Meanwhile here’s the verdict of the Office of Fair Trading on the motor insurance industry when it started taking a look back in 2012: “Dysfunctional, overly complex and costly.”
Yet, far from discussing the industry’s lazy, and sometimes sharp practices, here we are talking about whiplash being a major cause of inflated premiums despite there being little in the way of evidence to justify that claim.
If you get hit by someone else driving badly, there ought to be more available to you than just a bit of medical help that you have to fight tooth and nail to get.
There will only be a very little bit after the MoJ tweaked former Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to scrap compensating the victims of “low value” car crashes entirely. But the amounts being talked about are pitiful, particularly when set against the pain, discomfort and stress of being involved in, and injured by, an accident through no fault of your own.
But we’ll pass the savings on, says the industry! Really? And how will that claim be verified? In the absence of any monitoring, are you willing to take that on trust? I’m not, particularly in view of the fact that the insurance industry has expended a great deal of time, energy, effort, and, crucially, money on its whiplash campaign.
Do you really believe that, having done so, it will simply be willing to write off the cost of all those expensive lobbyists and PR people it has spent millions on in favour of handing the benefits on to a grateful public?
The best of it is, the industry already has a mechanism to challenge allegedly fraudulent claims. It hasn’t used it. Too much effort. Too expensive. Instead insurers pay the money out, while moaning in ministers’ ears about doing so and tormenting those who have suffered more serious injury and are put through hell before they receive anything (as I can testify from personal experience).
Biggest business scandals in pictures
Biggest business scandals in pictures
1/17 Rogue trader
A French court cut the damages owed by rogue trader Jerome Kerviel from €4.9bn (£4.2bn) to just €1m (£860,000). The court ruled on that Kerviel was “partly responsible” for massive losses suffered in 2008 by his former employer Societe Generale through his reckless trades. Kerviel has consistently maintained that bosses at the French bank knew what he was doing all along.
2/17 Lloyds chief apologises for damage caused by affair allegations - August 2016
Antonio Horta-Osorio, the chief executive of Lloyds Bank, has broken his silence over allegations about his private life admitting he regrets any "damage done to the group's reputation". In a message sent to the bank's 75,000 employees, the banker said that anyone can make mistakes while insisting that staff had to maintain the highest professional standards.
3/17 Christine Lagarde faces court over £340m Bernard Tapie payment - July 2016
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, must stand trial in France over a payment of €403 million (now £340m, then £290m) to tycoon Bernard Tapie, a France's highest appeals court has ruled. The court rejected Ms Lagarde's appeal against a judge's order in December for her to stand trial over allegations of negligence in her handling of the affair. Ms Lagarde could risk a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of €15,000 euros if convicted.
4/17 HSBC senior manager arrested in FX rigging investigation at JFK airport in New York - July 2016
A senior executive at HSBC has been arrested at New York's JFK airport for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to rig currency benchmarks, according to reports. Mark Johnson, global head of foreign exchange cash trading in London, was reportedly arrested on Tuesday. He will appear before a federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Bloomberg said.
5/17 Former PwC employees found guilty in 'Luxleaks' tax scandal - June 2016
Two ex- PricewaterhouseCoopers staffers were found guilty in Luxembourg of stealing confidential tax files that helped unleash a global scandal over generous fiscal deals for hundreds of international companies. Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet face suspended sentences of 12 months and 9 months and were ordered to pay fines of €1,500 (£1,230) and €1,000 (£822) for their role in the so-called LuxLeaks scandal. Despite the minimal sentences, the ruling was described by Deltour’s lawyer as “shocking” and “a terrible anomaly.” The ruling “puts on guard future whistle-blowers,” Deltour told reporters.The LuxLeaks revelations sped beyond Luxembourg, causing European Union regulators to expand a tax-subsidy probe and propose new laws to fight corporate tax dodging, while EU lawmakers created a special committee to probe fiscal deals across the 28-nation bloc.
6/17 Goldman Sachs dealmakers lavished Libyan officials with prostitutes to win contract - June 2016
A former Goldman Sachs dealmaker trying to persuade Gadaffi-era Libya to invest $1 billion with the investment bank procured prostitutes and invited Libyan officials to lavish parties in the hope of winning the business, the High Court heard on Monday June 13.The Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund is suing Goldman Sachs for inappropriately coercing its naïve staff into giving its sovereign wealth fund cash to the bank to invest in products they did not understand. The products were designed to generate big profits for Goldman, the LIA claims.Goldman denies wrongdoing and says the LIA was treated as an arms-length customer
7/17 Former boss of BHS said his life was threatened - June 2016
Darren Topp, the former boss of BHS, has said former owner Dominic Chappell threatened to kill him when he challenged him over a £1.5 million transfer out of the business. MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee asked Mr Topp about a £1.5 million transfer Mr Chappell made from BHS to a company called BHS Sweden.
8/17 Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley admits paying workers below the minimum wage - June 2016
Mike Ashley admitted paying Sports Direct employees below the minimum wage at a hearing in front of MPs. The company founder said that workers were paid less than the statutory minimum because of bottlenecks at security in an admission that could result in sanctions from HMRC.
9/17 Mitsubishi admits ‘improper’ fuel tests - April 2016
Mitsubishi has admitted to using false fuel methods dating back to 1991. The scale of the scandal is only just coming to light after it was revealed in April that data was falsified in the testing of four types of cars, including two Nissan cars.
10/17 Panama Papers: Millions of leaked documents expose how world’s rich and powerful hid money - April 2016
Millions of confidential documents have been leaked from one of the world’s most secretive law firms, exposing how the rich and powerful have hidden their money. Dictators and other heads of state have been accused of laundering money, avoiding sanctions and evading tax, according to the unprecedented cache of papers that show the inner workings of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is based in Panama.
11/17 Google's tax avoidance
Google reached a deal with the HM Revenue and Customs to pay back £130 million in so-called “back-taxes” that have been due since 2005. George Osborne championed the deal as a “major success”. But European MEPs have since called for the Chancellor to appear in front of the committee on tax rulings to explain the tax deal.
12/17 Turing Pharmaceuticals and Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli became known as the “most hated man in the world” after his drug company, Turing, increased the price of a 62-year-old drug that treated HIV patients by 5,000% to $750 a pill. He was charged with illegally taking stock from Retrophin, a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. Shkreli, who maintains he is innocent, and says there is little evidence of fraud because his investors didn't lose money.
13/17 Volkswagen emissions scandal
VW admitted to rigging its US emission tests so that diesel-powered cars would looks like they were emitting less nitrous oxide, which can damage the ozone layer and contribute to respiratory diseases. Around 11 million cars worldwide were affected.
14/17 Quindell, the scandal-ridden insurance firm
Quindell was once a darling of AIM but its share price fell in April 2014 when its accounting practices were attacked in a stinging research note by US short seller Gotham City. In August the group was forced to disclose that the £107 million pre-tax profit it had reported for 2013 was incorrect, and it had in fact suffered a £64million loss.
15/17 Toshiba Accounting Scandal
The boss of Toshiba, the Japanese technology giant, resigned in disgrace in the wake of one of the country’s biggest ever accounting scandals. His exit came two months after the company revealed that it was investigating accounting irregularities. An independent investigatory panel said that Toshiba’s management had inflated its reported profits by up to 152 billion yen (£780m) between 2008 and 2014.
16/17 FIFA Corruption Scandal
Fifa, football's world governing body, has been engulfed by claims of widespread corruption since the summer of 2015, when the US Department of Justice indicted several top executives. It has now claimed the careers of two of the most powerful men in football, Fifa President Sepp Blatter and Uefa President Michel Platini, after they were banned for eight years from all football-related activities by Fifa's ethics committee. A Swiss criminal investigation into the pair is ongoing.
17/17 Libor fraudster
City trader Tom Hayes, 35, has become the first person to be convicted of rigging Libor rates following a trial at London's Southwark Crown Court. Hayes worked as a trader in yen derivatives at UBS before joining the American bank Citigroup in Tokyo. He was fired from Citigroup following an investigation into his trading methods. He returned to the UK in December 2012 and was arrested following a two-and-a-half year criminal investigation by the SFO.
Instead of reforming its practices, using the mechanisms it has available to deter false claims, and charging bad drivers more when they cause accidents, a “complex and costly” industry has concentrated its efforts on lobbying first the Treasury and latterly the Justice Secretary Liz Truss to do its work for it, and stiff genuine victims of avoidable road accidents in the process. It’s cynical and it’s disgusting and it’s shameful that both ministers and the media have bought what the industry’s shiny suited salesman have been touting.
On her first day in office Prime Minister Theresa May said this: “When we make the big calls we'll think not of the powerful but you (ordinary working people), when we pass new laws we'll listen not to the mighty but to you.”
These proposed reforms call that statement into question, unless by ordinary people the PM meant the chief executives of Aviva and Royal&SunAlliance and the PR men and lobbyists employed by the Association of British Insurers.
- More about:
- car insurance
- Association of British Insurers
- Liz Truss
- Justice Department