The recent whiplash reform is positive news for brokers, insurers and more importantly policyholders. The collective aim was to reduce claim frequency and cost, both in terms of damages and costs.

What are the ‘Whiplash Reforms’?

‘Whiplash Reforms’ is the commonly used term for the package of measures introduced by the Government to reform the way low value personal injury claims arising from Road Traffic Accidents are managed.

They form part of the Civil Liability Act 2018. Taken together, the reforms will reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by tackling the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims.

The Ministry of Justice led the reforms, which involved legislative changes. Part One of the Civil Liability Act 2018 introduced a new fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) as well as banning claims being settled without a medical assessment.

The reforms are:

1. Increase in the Small Claims Track (SCT) limit for personal injury claims from motor accidents from £1,000 to £5,000

2. The tariffing of whiplash injuries sustained by vehicle occupants

3. An online portal for SCT value injury claims arising from motor accidents

What does this mean in simple terms?

1. Any adult personal injury claim with an injury element worth between £1,000 and £5,000 will be allocated to the SCT if litigated as opposed to the fast track (FT).

2. Compensation for whiplash injuries with a prognosis of under 24 months will be valued in reference to the fixed tariff which will attract much lower awards than the current Judicial College Guideline assessments.

3. Those cases within the £5,000 bracket will be processed via a new online claims service/portal.

What do we know about the way the claims will be processed?

At the moment changes involved will only relate to claims arising out of motor accidents pursued by:

• Full capacity adults who were occupants of a UK registered vehicle following an accident occurring within England and Wales

Camille Pollitt is Regional Claims Manager for the North East at PIB Insurance Brokers. PIB Insurance Brokers are one of the leading independent insurance brokers in the UK with 24 offices nationwide.

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