UK consumers are backing stronger measures to combat whiplash fraud as 10 per cent of people admit to knowing someone who has made a fraudulent or exaggerated claim.

Despite Government reforms to address the issue, the scale of the “compensation culture” problem around whiplash claims has been highlighted in a new report from AXA UK which has been published today (24th November).

The report – ‘Whiplash: consumer perspectives on a UK compensation culture pandemic’ – revealed that 10 per cent of the 2,000 UK consumers polled said they had either committed whiplash fraud themselves or knew someone that had done so. It also revealed that:

•Almost two thirds (62 per cent) would support the introduction of mandatory medical examinations even if it resulted in their insurance premiums rising in the short term

•While acknowledging that medical examinations already apply, AXA believes these should be carried out by independent and specifically accredited medical examiners

•Widespread calls to reduce the timeframe permitted for whiplash claims – two thirds (67 per cent) think the time limit should be six months rather than existing three years

AXA UK Claims Director Chris Voller said that the figures reveal the scale of the problem and the uphill challenge the UK Government and insurance industry still face if this proportion is to be reduced in the mid to long term.

“One might expect that the percentage of people admitting to being or knowing a fraudster is lower than the real number but even at the level indicated in our survey, the amount of fraud taking place is disturbingly high,” he said.

“AXA’s report reveals a consensus that whiplash claims and injuries associated with such claims are an area open to fraudulent activity.”

Whiplash fraud is deemed to be a significant enough problem that people are even prepared to pay extra in the short term if it helps to eradicate whiplash fraud in the long term.

Sixty-two per cent of respondents would support the introduction of mandatory medical examinations “even if it resulted in their insurance premiums rising in the short term”.

People currently have three years in which to file a whiplash claim but it is evident that many feel this is too long a period, with 67 per cent saying that the time limit should be restricted to six months.

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