ITV documentary causes a stir

ITV’s Tonight programme – Secrets of Your Car Insurance – which examined the reasons why insurance premiums are increasing has been met with disdain by Motor Claim Guru.

The documentary, aired Thursday (1 September) described how new vehicle technology, criminal gangs orchestrating insurance scams and fraudulent personal injury claims are just some of the factors forcing up car insurance. However, Motor Claim Guru suggests the programme was more a public ‘brainwashing’ exercise from the insurance sector.

Tim Kelly, director at Motor Claim Guru, who was tweeting ITV live during the show with his opinions, said, ‘I sent a few tweets to ITV for the nonsense they purported as facts during the show. In my opinion it was clearly driven by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

‘There were certainly some good parts included but my blood was boiling by the end.’

Tim continued, ‘If the truth to the increase in premiums is as a result of fraudulent claims, then why does the ABI advise less than on per cent are proven fraud, and why have they not relied on fundamental dishonesty to counter claim? If claims are proven fraud, how can this increase premiums?’

The documentary comes on the back of an article featured in The Times last weekend which accused insurers of ‘cheating motorists’ by not passing on whiplash savings. The lead story claimed that ‘insurance companies are overcharging motorists for cover despite measures that have helped the industry to save two billion pounds in the past three years.’

It suggested premiums had jumped by as much as a fifth in the past 12 months alone — adding about £115 to bills – even though a government crackdown on the no-win, no-fee industry has led to a drop in whiplash claims.

The paper cited Association of British Insurers (ABI) figures that said the number of motor-related personal injury claims fell from 365,000 in 2013, to 342,000 both in 2014 and last year, while the average cost of the claims, including damages and legal fees, has fallen from a high of £11,365 three years ago to £10,738 in 2014 and £10,614 last year. This suggests that the overall cost to the insurance industry of these claims has dropped from more than £4.1bn in 2013 to £3.6bn last year.

Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, said, ‘The bottom line is that the insurance industry promised that they would reduce premiums as whiplash claims fell and, if they haven’t done it, they’ve reneged on their promise. Fraud must be wiped out but the insurance industry must also honour its promises.’

Brett Dixon, vice-president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), told the paper that injured people were being made ‘scapegoats’ for a dysfunctional insurance industry whose first duty was to its shareholders.

The article claimed that the ABI insisted that savings of about £1.1bn had been passed on to customers, twice as much as the industry had saved through the reforms.