HF, the specialist insurance industry legal services firm, has seen a sharp increase in the number of claims for non-whiplash injuries as claimants take advantage of a loop-hole to get bigger compensation payouts.
Whilst recent Government reforms have reduced the amount of compensation available for whiplash injuries, additional awards are still available for non-whiplash injuries. HF are now seeing alarming trends in claims data of increasing numbers of claims involving non-whiplash injuries, something that was rarely seen prior to the reforms and which could potentially cost the insurance industry multi-millions if not addressed.
In order to help the insurance industry tackle fraudulent claims, HF introduced a fraud assessment service, HOLT, which uses artificial intelligence to help insurance companies quickly analyse personal injury claims. The data gathered by HOLT also assists lawyers and insurance companies to identify new trends and react to them in real-time. Using HOLT’s data, HF has identified an alarming trend in terms of the injuries presented. In 2020 around 70% of the claims assessed by HOLT were whiplash only claims. That number reduced to 63% in 2021 and 45% in 2022. Since the start of the year, HF has seen non-whiplash injuries increase by around 46%.
The data points to a trend of certain claimant law firms submitting an increased number of claims for wrist, leg, arm, chest, and psychological injuries; claims which, pre-reform would have been predominantly for whiplash only. The impact of this means that the stakes are now higher with insurance companies having to dedicate additional resources to investigating these ever-changing and more complex claims, despite the aims of the Government to reduce compensation pay-outs.
Jared Mallinson, Partner and Head of Counter-fraud at HF said: “It cannot be right that less than two years ago, the same types of accidents were causing only whiplash injuries in 70% of cases, whereas now, the tables have reversed, and additional injuries, on top of whiplash, are claimed in almost 67% of claims (Official Injury Claims Data April-June 2022) arising from those very same accidents. It is not a coincidence that such behaviour has coincided with a vast reduction in the value of modest whiplash claims.
“One has to question the source of such a marked increase in non-whiplash injuries being claimed, and whether those claiming such injuries falsely are alive to the potential consequences of making fraudulent claims. Whilst a lot of focus has understandably been on how to value such mixed claims over recent months, insurers also need to consider appropriate challenges to this new trend and the application of strategies to defeat unmeritorious and exaggerated claims outright .”