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Insurance company, Aviva, has suggested that car crash victims with minor whiplash injuries should receive medical care rather than a cash payout to help combat fraud and bring down the cost of premiums in general.
The company estimates that this move would take around £32 off the average motor insurance premium and would more importantly act as a stronger deterrent to those motorists who take part in ‘crash for cash’ scams.
Crash for cash scams are based around fraudsters who make money by staging a motor accident in order to make false whiplash claims, and these scams have seen a massive increase in recent years, causing insurance premiums to rise even further.
However, Aviva believes that whiplash costs could be almost halved if short-term, minor injuries are not dealt with by cash payments. The company estimates £900 million could be saved in costs from the current annual £2b cost of current claims within the UK.
Aviva suggests that instead of the typical £2,500 payout that someone gets for a minor whiplash injury claim, they should be offered an assessment of their injuries and treatment to help them recover.
More than 475,000 whiplash claims were made in 2013, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Following analysis of its own data, Aviva claims that 94 per cent of all personal injury claims from a motor accident are for minor whiplash-type injury claims. In comparison, it estimates that in France claims are as low as 3 per cent for personal injury.
The company already offers a whiplash treatment scheme which people making not-at-fault claims for under £10,000 can take up if they want to.
The scheme was launched in 2011 and has helped nearly 7,000 people, with rehabilitation packages including tips on exercises to aid recovery, contact with a physiotherapist and referrals for more specialist treatment in more serious cases.
Aviva suggests that such a service should be extended across the industry to treat all minor whiplash injuries. The scheme would be paid for by insurers and built into a motorist’s insurance policy as part of their cover, the insurer suggests.