Claimants are set to face higher BTE and ATE costs should the Government’s proposed soft tissue injury reforms become reality.
The warning has come from ARAG’s product development manager, Lesley Attu, who has said in a blog on the legal cost insurer’s website, that the proposals will result in the most vulnerable people in society becoming further disadvantaged.
Attu has said that if the proposals are introduced, then claimants will face higher BTE premiums – possibly in the region of £15 per vehicle as the costs of pursing claims will increase. She also said that the proposals would reduce the availability – and increase the cost to injured victims – of ATE insurance. As ATE policyholders represent a high proportion of low socio-economic citizens, many of them are unlikely to be able to afford BTE, which is usually sold as an additional benefits to motor and household insurance products. This means that the reforms would be particularly damaging for non-RTA injury victims where claims are far more complex and variable.
“This will leave many more accident victims under a reformed system uninsured for legal costs and unable to access justice,” she said.
Attu also said that ARAG has struggled to understand how insurers will be able to isolate the promised savings made from the reforms given that there are so many other factors that affect the pricing of premiums. ARAG believes that any savings will be lost in the “various moving parts” that make up pricing.
“We very much doubt whether insurers will be true to their word given their poor experience of honouring past commitments. The insurance industry promised savings of £90 per motorist pre-LASPO yet premiums have since risen by 4% despite 6% fewer claims,” added Attu.
ARAG has also expressed alarm at the proposed tariff system for whiplash injuries. It has said that it is “inconceivable” that injured parties in a traffic accident should lose their right to be compensated at a time when people can claim compensation for suffering inconvenience for flight or rail delays.