Queen’s Speech confirms whiplash reforms and court modernisation

On 21 June 2017, the Queen’s speech confirmed that legislation will be introduced to modernise the courts system in England and Wales, and to help reduce motor insurance premiums.

The Queen announced the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years, and among the 27 bills, eight of which dealt with Brexit, a Civil Liability Bill (“the Bill”) will be introduced with the Government stating that it would crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims, and reduce motor insurance policies by about £35.00 per year.

 

What does this mean for insurers?

The new proposals will undoubtedly be positive news for insurers. The Bill will ensure that genuine claimants get paid fairly and exaggerated claims will be reduced.  This could save motorists an average of £25-£40 per motor insurance policy.  The savings from this measure will help mitigate some of the recent increases due to the Ogden discount rate change.

Commenting on the new legislation, Zurich UK CEO, Tulsi Naidu said: “Zurich has been leading the way in reducing fraudulent whiplash claims to protect honest customers who end up covering the cost through their motor insurance premiums. But we need Government action to help continue this momentum. We therefore welcome the Government’s decision to introduce the Civil Liability Bill, to tackle fraudulent whiplash claims and malpractice among claims management companies, including nuisance cold calling. We note the Government is seeking to ensure “full and fair compensation is paid to genuinely injured people. In doing this, the Government must address the urgent issue of the personal injury discount rate and respond to its consultation with appropriate legislative action.”

 

When will the Bill be implemented?

The Government is set to debate the Queen’s speech next week.  It is difficult to see how much progress will be made on the Bill, given that there is a summer recess, and the Parliament will not be back in full session until 8th or 9th October 2017. Therefore, it may be the later end of 2017 before we see the Bill implemented.

This Bill could well pave the way for a similar Bill in Northern Ireland.

 

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While great care has been taken in the preparation of the content of this article, it does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the relevant law and full professional advice should be taken before any action is taken in reliance on any item covered.