Insurers push for lower tariffs for road accident claims

Man holding his injured neck after a car accident

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has argued this week that lower tariffs for road accident injury claims should be implemented for non-whiplash injuries.

After years of lobbying by the ABI and other groups, the Government implemented a tariff scheme in 2021 that significantly reduced the compensation paid to victims of road accidents with whiplash injuries.

At the time, the ABI argued that the tariff would help to reduce premiums. Despite, this motor insurance premiums have significantly increased since the change.

The association now say that an extension of the tariff is necessary to bring down insurance premiums.

Have the recent reforms failed to benefit claimants?

Alongside the lower tariffs, the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal was launched.

The OIC portal was intended to simplify the claims process for lower value injuries, enabling claimants to recover compensation without a lawyer.

The portal’s launch was delayed, and since the launch, solicitors and claimants’ rights groups have argued the portal has failed to meet its goals, and is failing injury victims. In September 2023, Parliament’s Justice Committee warned that the portal had a "growing" backlog of 349,000 cases. The average case completion time had also risen from 270 days in mid-2023 to 296 days.

Read more:

How to use the Official Injury Claim

The Supreme Court weighs in on mixed injuries

The Supreme Court is now hearing arguments over the correct calculation of compensation for claimants who have suffered both whiplash and other injuries (such as a broken ankle, or wrist) in a road accident. These are referred to as "mixed injuries".

In Rabot v Hassam and Briggs v Laditan, the Court will rule on whether victims can claim both tariff and non-tariff compensation amounts. The Court of Appeal found last year that road accident claimants could recover both types.

According to recent OIC data, 66.7% of claims in the portal were for mixed injuries, and the decision represents a significant amount of compensation that UK insurers would owe to claimants if the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court.

The ABI’s roadmap

In their Roadmap to Tackle Insurance Costs, the ABI proposes that the whiplash tariff scheme be extended to other injuries.

In the report, the ABI claim: "...many claimants are now encouraged to claim for additional injuries that the claimant legal sector argue should attract significantly higher damages amounts than the tariffs that have been set for whiplash. Reform principles enacted for whiplash should be applied to similar injuries to keep costs under control."

Before the implementation of the whiplash tariff, solicitors argued that the lower compensation awards meant legitimate claimants would be under-compensated for their injuries.

The Roadmap also argued that another element of compensation, the personal injury discount rate (PIDR), also be changed. The discount rate represents the idea that once a claimant has received their lump sum of compensation, they could invest that money and see returns in excess of what their claim is worth. Compensation awards are reduced by a small % rate to take this into account.

The rate is currently -0.25%, but was last adjusted several years ago during a period of historically low interest rates. The ABI argues that with interest rates much higher, the PIDR should be increased, to reflect the better returns a claimant can expect from investing their compensation sum.

What do the ABI’s proposals mean for claimants?

If you were recently injured in a road accident, and have started or are about to start a claim, the proposals will not affect your claim.

The launch of the current whiplash tariff was initially postponed, amid pushback from solicitors and concerns in Parliament. In addition, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has shown little inclination to extend the tariff to non-whiplash injuries.

With the Supreme Court decision outstanding and major delays within the OIC portal yet to be resolved, the director of Association of Consumer Support Organisations, Matthew Maxwell Scott has argued that extending the tariff would be "premature".

When should I start my claim?

If the ABI is successful in their efforts, the non-whiplash tariff is unlikely to be implemented quickly, and without warning. Nonetheless, if you are considering starting a claim, there is no reason to delay.

Starting your claim sooner can make it easier to gather witness statements, CCTV and other evidence in support of your claim. A claim will also help to fund your recovery and ongoing treatment, and access rehabilitation services that may not be available on the NHS.

Read more:

Whiplash compensation claims

Insurers lobby for extension of whiplash reforms (

Chris Salmon, Director

Chris Salmon, Director