The latest data from the government’s Compensation Recovery Unity (CRU) confirms a significant drop in injury claims during 2020. Following an FOI request, the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) found that 172,736 injury claims were registered in Oct – Dec 2020, a drop of nearly 51,000 compared to the same period in 2019. Motor injury claims, which make up the most significant proportion of claims on the database, fell to just under 140,000, a 23 per cent year-on-year fall.
Looking at the whole year, the CRU reported a 27 per cent drop in claims across all categories (motor, EL, PL and clinical negligence), from just over 834,400 in 2019 to 618,079 in 2020. Motor saw a 24 per cent fall to 495,374. Unsurprisingly, the biggest drop in claims was in Employer Liability, which recorded a 45 per cent fall year-on-year between 2019 and 2020, mainly due to the effects of the pandemic and more people working remotely.
Commenting on the data, Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO, said: “The picture that emerges from last year is of a hugely significant fall in all personal injury claims. Covid has achieved over the course of 12 months what the government set out to do with its compensation reform programme.”
Mr Maxwell Scott said that such a significant fall in claims would bring about a large boost to insurer profits, meaning there was “no reason at all why consumers should not get their promised £35 reduction in insurance premiums now.”
Admiral’s return of £25 to policyholders last year underlined that motor insurers have done very well out of the pandemic, and it seems fair that consumers should benefit. Maxwell Scott noted that the latest ABI statistics showed that car insurance has fallen by just 1 per cent between 2019-20, to an average premium of £465.*
“Consumers should expect a much more substantial reduction in their premium than £4.65, so we urge insurers to do the right thing by Britain’s drivers and meet or beat what Admiral has done.
“The ABI estimates that the average bodily injury claim pay-out is £10k**, so broadly speaking motor insurers have collectively saved £15 billion in 2020 from a near 25 per cent reduction in motor injury claims alone.”
Looking ahead, Mr Maxwell Scott said the government should hold off on pressing ahead with reforms to EL and PL claims in light of the sharp drop in incidence during 2020.
“Managing such fundamental changes to the RTA regime is a major task that will consume a lot of resources for all industry stakeholders, not just our members. Even more importantly, we need to learn from these changes and impact assess them once the new regime has matured to then ensure any future changes are implemented effectively.
“We argue that ministers should await the outcome of the first tranche of reforms, and have an eye to longer-term reductions in claims incidence, before ploughing ahead with planned changes to EL and PL, especially in view of the continuing pandemic and the chaos it is causing in civil justice.”
Volume of personal injury claims recorded by the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU)
|Liability Type||Clinical Negligence||Employer||Motor||Other||Public||Not Known||Total|
|1 Jan 18 – 30 Jun 18||8,978||42,151||326,699||5,036||47,950||1,209||432,023|
|1 Jul 18 – 30 Sep 18||4,483||22,375||159,417||1,804||21,290||616||209,985|
|1 Oct 18 – 31 Dec 18||3,944||23,517||181,261||1,848||23,247||737||234,554|
|1 Jan 19 – 31 Mar 19||4,207||22,001||156,791||1,868||21,288||597||206,752|
|1 Apr 19 – 30 Jun 19||3,494||25,342||146,844||1,610||16,244||328||193,862|
|1 Jul 19 – 30 Sep 19||3,908||23,491||169,217||1,995||20,101||430||219,142|
|1 Oct 19 – 31 Dec 19||4,324||16,162||181,131||1,927||19,622||504||223,670|
|1 Jan 20 – 31 Mar 20||4,119||14,032||155,860||1,554||16,620||393||192,578|
|1 Apr 20 – 30 Jun 20||2,217||10,531||94,973||1,076||11,778||351||120,926|
|1 Jul 20 - 30 Sep 20||2,503||10,774||104,782||1,124||12,358||298||131,839|
|1 Oct 20 - 31 Dec 20||3,827||12,734||139,758||1,413||14,606||398||172,736|
- *The Association of British Insurers (ABI), Driving a better deal – the cost of motor insurance at a four year low in 2020 according to the ABI's latest Motor Insurance Premium Tracker, 28 January 2021.
- **The Association of British Insurers (ABI), UK Insurance and Long Term Savings Fey Facts 2019, December 2019.
Note: This press release has correct and up-to-date data and replaces an earlier draft.