Data shows dramatic decrease in motor accident injury claims

The one silver lining from recent months might be that the diminished presence of drivers on the road has resulted in less auto accidents. In fact, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of motor accident injury claims fell dramatically between April and June, according to data released by the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO).

Specifically, there was a drop of 60,000 claims from the previous quarter, or a 40% reduction, reflecting a long-term declining trend in the number of motor-related claims registered with CRU. “These [claims] have fallen from nearly 830,000 in 2011-12 to just over 650,000 last year,” said ACSO executive director Matthew Maxwell Scott.

Additionally, motor injury claims between January and March 2020 were on par with the same period in 2019, while claims for the April-to-June period came in at 94,733 (versus 146,844 in 2019), revealing a 35% reduction year on year. However, this drop in claims is not likely to last.

“Our expectation is that motor injury claims will start to rise again as people return to normal driving patterns after the lockdown, but the overall annual figures for 2020 will inevitably report another big fall in motor injury claims,” explained Maxwell Scott. “This underlines our view that personal injury claims numbers cannot continue to be cited as the reason for increasing car insurance premiums.”

On the non-motor side, ACSO pointed out that claims have fallen across the board between the first and second quarter of 2020. This included clinical negligence, which saw a 46% reduction, employer liability with a 25% drop, and public liability with a 29% fall. The overall decrease in personal injury claims between January and March, and April to the end of June was 37%, highlighting “the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on the insurance claims sector,” said Maxwell Scott.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the coronavirus-related lockdowns, ACSO and the ABI’s Statement of Intent has enabled many injured people to see their claims progress and to undergo remote treatment such as physiotherapy, added Maxwell Scott.

“We hope the success of ABI’s Statement of Intent and other protocols will encourage further cooperation to improve the customer claims journey and help reduce costs,” he continued. “By continuing to work together the wider industry will also be able to resolve many of the outstanding problems with the small claims portal, the implementation of which has been delayed until at least April 2021.”