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Car insurance premiums are continuing to rise, but the pace of increases has slowed in the past year, Consumer Intelligence has found.
The insurance research firm’s data shows the average most competitive premiums rose 7.5% in the year to February, to £740, but have fallen 3.4% since they peaked in September last year.
Prices have in fact fallen for five consecutive months—the first time since Consumer Intelligence’s records began.
Under-25s have seen a 0.6% fall in their average car insurance bills fall over the past year as telematics helped insurers to cut prices. Around 59% of the most competitive quotes for under-25s come from telematics providers.
Progress on government plans to limit whiplash claims and confirmation of the new personal injury discount rate should also help limit increases, Consumer Intelligence said.
Over-50s drivers are suffering the biggest increases in premiums at 9.7% but still pay average prices of just £404 per year compared to £1,612 for under-25s.
Motorists in London pay the highest premiums at £1,041—nearly double the lowest at £557 in Wales.
John Blevins, pricing expert at Consumer Intelligence, said: “The drop in premiums since September is generally linked to insurers becoming more competitive in order to meet year-end goals.”
“Average premiums are still 28.6% higher than in October 2013 when our records began but with progress on whiplash reforms and the Ogden rate this year should be more positive for motorists.”
“The big driver for car insurance, however, is claims experience and costs with the biggest impact being felt in major urban areas where crime rates are higher.”
Marsh has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative with more than 400 member companies.
The EEA seeks to create open industry standards and frameworks for blockchain applications based on the core Ethereum platform.
Marsh is the first insurance broker to be part of the EEA, which includes some of the world’s leading organisations in technology, financial services, healthcare, energy and manufacturing, and a number of fast-growing startups.
As a member of the EEA, Marsh will play an active role in the insurance and digital identity working groups, collaborating with the alliance members in leading and driving the adoption of blockchain applications.
Sastry Durvasula, chief digital officer and chief data and analytics officer at Marsh, said: “We see the potential of blockchain technology as having a game-changing impact on the risk management and insurance industry—one that enables the creation of new business models, products, and platforms that better serve our clients in the new economy.”
“By joining the EEA, we will be able to collaborate with other members to explore new solutions and disruptive use cases, while participating in the evolution of Ethereum into enterprise-grade blockchain technology.”
Marsh also recently joined The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance, a risk management and insurance industry enterprise-level blockchain consortium that seeks to leverage the blockchain to lower industry transaction costs while increasing the speed and security of data transfers among customers, industry stakeholders and third parties.
Karim Derrick, head of research and development at Kennedys Law, recently said that one immediate application for blockchain in claims could be protection against fraud.
An assistant director who worked on the James Bond films starring Daniel Craig has launched High Court proceedings against the production company’s insurers, seeking £2.5 million in damages for career ending injuries he sustained while on set.
Terry Madden, an assistant director who has worked on every James Bond film since For Your Eyes Only in 1981, was crushed by a 4X4 while filming action sequences in the Austrian Alps for Spectre in 2015.
The insurers for B24 and Eon Productions, the companies behind the 007 franchise, have admitted liability, but have so far failed to pay compensation.
Madden, whose career dates back more than 45 years to the original Star Wars in 1976, commented: “I felt privileged and proud to work and be part of an active, exciting, but hard working industry, at times sacrificing family life. Then to have a career you worked hard over many years to build up, taken away within a few seconds in this horrendous accident, has been soul destroying. It has limited my mobility greatly and I am unable to do things I once took for granted.”
The international injury department of litigation firm Stewarts, which is led by Julian Chamberlayne, filed the complaint on Madden’s behalf.
Chamberlayne said: “Although we secured an admission of liability at an early stage, it has now become necessary to issue High Court proceedings to ensure that the insurers fully compensate Terry for his injuries which have ultimately ended his successful and celebrated career.”
Following last month’s news of the collapse of CBL Insurance and the subsequent failure of Denmark’s Alpha Insurance, Andy Talbot of ARAG considers where the next legal expenses underwriting failure may occur
In 2016, it was AU Insurance Services. Last summer, it was Elite Insurance Company. Already in 2018, New Zealand’s CBL Insurance has collapsed, leaving Alpha Insurance in solvent liquidation and run-off.
Often, it seems, these failures affecting the legal expenses sector get associated with the after the event (ATE) insurance market, somehow remote from the majority of brokers. But most legal expenses underwriters, wherever they are based, will have feet in both ATE and before the event camps.
Alpha Insurance is a case in point, having underwritten numerous motor legal protection and other policies for brokers around the country, as well as some ATE business.
The precise causes and circumstances of these failures (and the several others that have occurred in between them) may be very different, but they have all left brokers, other intermediaries and their clients in the lurch.
In most cases, clients are unlikely to be affected if a change of underwriter is forced on their insurance provider. Some consolation for brokers that have to go back to the market, find a new underwriter or product and undertake all the subsequent work that such failures inevitably trigger.
What is troubling is the frequency with which such failures seem to be occurring.
The legal expenses insurance market has not been an easy one in recent years. Increased regulation, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act, numerous other legislative changes and even the succession of insurance premium tax rate increases have all put pressure on smaller legal expense insurance providers.
Some underwriters have also been more vulnerable to the impact of continued uncertainty over EU passporting rules, resulting from the Brexit vote, and there are likely to be more legislative changes to come. Proposals to change the way whiplash claims are handled and raise small claims court limits could seriously undermine the business models of some legal expense insurance providers and trouble their underwriters.
Brokers have good reason to be cautious. Alpha Insurance is only the latest underwriter to exit the legal expenses market. It is highly unlikely to be the last.
How and when the next legal expenses underwriter will leave the market is inevitably difficult to predict, but brokers owe it to themselves, at least, to minimise the risk of finding themselves in a similar situation over the coming months.
Very few law firms will have the knowledge of insurance markets that most brokers do, so it may be hard for them to understand and calculate the risk. Brokers, on the other hand, should be much more adept at asking the right sort of questions, not just of their immediate provider, but the ultimate underwriter, too.
Who is this policy underwritten by? Where are they based? Who regulates them and what sort of scrutiny do they come under? Are they independently rated by a credible agency? How much experience do they have writing this sort of business?
Thankfully, it seems that Alpha’s departure and run-off will, like Elite’s before it, be orderly. The underwriter appears solvent and seems capable of meeting its obligations.
Consultancy SX3 Claims has strengthened its board and operations with the appointments of Laurence Besemer and Laura Phillips.
Forum of Insurance Lawyers CEO Besemer, a joint founder of the consultancy, has joined its board as a non-executive director.
Phillips has taken over from Besemer as operations manager.
She joins the consultancy following a wide-ranging senior career in insurance. Phillips has acted as an associate of the consultancy but will now take a significant role in helping the consultancy to meet its development aims for the future.
Joint SX3 founder and managing director Adrian Gilbert commented: “Laurence has been central to the growth of SX3 and I am incredibly grateful for his contribution to the business and for his personal support. I am very pleased that Laurence has agreed to keep an active interest in the business at a level where his strategic vision and insight will help us through the next phase of growth.”
“To have someone of Laura’s calibre join us at this important time for the company’s future, I see as a feather in our cap. Her knowledge of the claims industry, combined with her operational expertise is a great asset to SX3 as it continues to grow.”
Besemer added: “Starting SX3 with Adrian was a terrific challenge which I enjoyed enormously. Now, I am delighted to move to a strategic role as non-executive director. The appointment of Laura Phillips as operations manager is a great move for the company at this time and I am very confident for the company’s future.”
Phillips said: “I really buy in to the ethos and culture that SX3 offers as a claims consultancy business. Having worked alongside multiple claims consultancies, I see the innovation and difference SX3 can bring and am excited to be a part of it.”
Rob Cummings, assistant director and head of motor and liability at the ABI, said: “Despite motor insurance remaining a highly competitive market, cost pressures saw the average price paid for motor insurance jump by 9% to a record high in 2017.”
“Putting a lid on excessive costs, which end up being paid for by motorists, remains a priority for insurers. This makes it all the more important for the government to play its part, by pushing ahead with its reforms to personal injury compensation without further delay.”
The average personal injury claim in the final quarter of 2017, at £10,816, was the highest recorded since the second quarter of 2016, according to the ABI’s research.
The ABI did report that the number of personal injury claims in 2017 fell slightly on 2016, with 320,000 claims settled.
Lorega has launched a dedicated building surveying service that is designed to help policyholders manage property reinstatement in the event of a claim.
The new surveying services, which will be managed by loss adjusting arm Lorega Solutions, will provide policyholders with access to expert chartered surveyors to oversee and administer work.
The surveyor will work alongside the chartered loss adjuster to prepare and present the claim by obtaining quotes for building work, and then managing the reinstatement process.
Angus Tucker, managing director of Lorega Solutions, said: “Offering access to professional surveying support at the outset of the claims process removes the burden from claimants to source quotes and find a suitably experienced surveyor to manage reinstatement.”
“The launch … enhances our suite of expert services for policyholders and demonstrates our overall commitment to providing expert help to minimise the impact, costs and disruption of a property damage claim.”
The webinar will look at the essentials of business continuity planning, which brokers can use to build resilience within their businesses, or to advise their clients on how to make sure they’re prepared should the worst happen.
Despite feeling that the claimant personal injury market is under siege by those whose motives lie far from access to justice and protecting the vulnerable, we must not shy away from continuing to fight against damaging reforms, says Qamar Anwar of First4Lawyers
Despite lobbying and presentation of evidence, contrary to what the insurance industry provides, the government seems blind, deaf and dumb to the cries from our community.
It was this time last year we heard the news that the government planned to take an indiscriminate axe to the amount of compensation available to innocent road traffic accident victims. Three months of pain, suffering and inability to carry out everyday tasks was worth £225, according to the Ministry of Justice, a figure it appeared to have plucked out of the air. The average pay-out for such an injury, based on official guidelines, was £1,750.
Attempts to include these reforms in the Prisons and Courts Bill were disingenuous, and in its rush to respond to personal injury reforms, it was made clear that the government and insurance sector valued the damage caused to vehicles more than that to humans.
We were then granted a brief reprieve due to the snap general election, and we all hoped that this would give some pause for reflection and redirection. However, that hope was short lived as we all listened to the Queen’s Speech in June 2017 and discovered that the government planned to press ahead with personal injury reform in the guise of the new Civil Liability Bill.
By July, to add further insult to injury, responding to a written question about the government’s plans to change regulations covering insurance claims for whiplash, justice minister Sam Gyimah confirmed that a fixed tariff would apply to all compensation for whiplash claims for injuries lasting up to two years.
And now, the merry-go-round doesn’t stop as the clock is ticking on the introduction of the Civil Liability Bill. With no details of the bill yet published, the timetable is worryingly short, and suggests that a fresh, in-depth consultation with the industry is unlikely.
However, despite feeling that we are an industry under siege by those whose motives lie far from access to justice and protecting the vulnerable, we must not shy away from continuing to fight against these reforms and standing up for innocent injury victims’ access to justice.
It is imperative that the new justice secretary does not roll over and, once again, we call upon him to not take the insurance industry’s propaganda, which is fuelling these proposals, at face value.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen a flurry of announcements from insurers, with profit increases at some of the main players as high as 52%, and yet insurers report having to shrink their claims departments in response to falling claims and reduced fraud. The justice secretary must surely evaluate whether reform is actually needed. Reform should only be based on fact rather than the whim of the Association of British Insurers.
David Gauke must now instigate a meaningful and honest debate on what is right and wrong with the way personal injury victims are treated, to decry the way in which insurers operate, and the importance of the whole sector coming together to stamp out fraud.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) has appointed Dominic Clayden as its new chief executive.
Clayden will also join the bureau’s board as an executive director. Both roles will commence in May. He will succeed Ashton West, who is retiring.
Clayden was previously the group chief claims officer at QBE Insurance. Prior to that, he worked at Aviva as claims director.
As a qualified solicitor, Clayden has also held legal positions at BKJ Lewis and Potter Butler & Lyons.
Steve Maddock, chairman of the bureau, said: “Succession planning is a key area for the board and I’m delighted to have someone of Dominic’s calibre joining MIB to continue to drive our strategy.”
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Ashton for the contribution that he has made over the last 15 years. Under his outstanding leadership, MIB has achieved an incredible amount to tackle uninsured driving on Britain’s roads.”
West added: “It has been a privilege to play a part in the development of MIB to the organisation it is today. Working in partnership with insurers, government, police and the DVLA, MIB has made a significant impact to reducing levels of uninsured driving on Britain’s roads and I am proud of what has been achieved by everyone here.”
“A number of intrinsic and extraneous factors will provide a landscape of further opportunities and challenges for MIB in the years ahead and I wish Dominic and the team every success in continuing our pursuits in the future.”
Clayden added: “MIB is an organisation that is close to my heart having served as a non-executive director on the board. As chief executive, I am determined to build on the success that MIB has achieved to date, working with a strong leadership team to reduce uninsured driving on Britain’s roads.”
The government must stop dithering and act now to ban cold calling for personal injury claims, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has said ahead of a crucial debate in Parliament on 12 March.
The Financial Guidance and Claims Bill initially only included a ban on pension cold calling, but an amendment widening its scope to claims management companies was introduced in the House of Lords.
Some 895 million nuisance calls being made last year that chased an injury claim for an accident that may or may not have occurred, or other insurance-related matter, according to Aviva.
But Dixon and APIL remain unhappy with the bill’s contents.
“There is a clear public demand for a ban on cold calling, yet the government has rowed back on its commitment to stop this epidemic which bedevils people across this country,” Dixon explained.
“Its proposal to control cold calling by changing the rules on consent will do nothing to stop unscrupulous marketing organisations from taking advantage of vulnerable people.”
Dixon said: “No-one would knowingly consent to being cold-called about a personal injury claim. The idea is unthinkable. Consent may be appropriate for other types of marketing but it has no place in the field of personal injury.”
“It is intrusive, exploitative and has a pernicious impact on society. The government is willing to ban cold calling in other areas, such as pensions, so its reluctance to do the same for personal injury is incomprehensible.”
“A recent YouGov survey found that more than two thirds of people would support a ban,” he said. “This is not controversial. It is time for the government to deliver.”
New research by National Accident Helpline has found that British consumers continue to suffer from nuisance calls, with as many as one in five people being cold called at least once per day.
The national study provides a map of the regions that are most targeted by cold callers, with people living in the Northeast, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber most likely to be the victims of unsolicited calls.
Simon Trott, managing director of National Accident Helpline, said: “Cold calling continues to be a blight on the UK, with many people still being cold called every day.”
“Scam cold callers are sometimes able to extort people’s personal information or bank details whilst on the line, defrauding consumers of their money. We have also seen evidence of cold callers encouraging consumers to bring fraudulent claims.”
“We believe that the public needs to be protected from this, and that’s why we are calling for the government to implement our action plan, to end nuisance calls for good.”