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Success of UK Whiplash Bill Brings Relief, Insurers Say

The Association of British Insurers says the bill was designed to fix “a broken system.”
  • Robert O'Connor
  • January 2019
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The advance of the Civil Liability Bill through Parliament is a victory for consumers.

Rob Townend

Aviva and insurance trade groups have reacted with relief to the success of legislation designed to curb what insurers have seen as excessive personal injury claims.

The Civil Liability Bill, which has won its final parliamentary approval, will change both the process for handling whiplash claims and the formula for the payment of long-term injuries. The law will apply in England and Wales.

“The advance of the Civil Liability Bill through Parliament is a victory for consumers,” Rob Townend, managing director of Aviva's U.K. general insurance business, said in a statement. “The bill, which has now cleared its final legislative hurdle before being signed into law, is fantastic news and represents a fairer system which balances care and compensation for genuine injuries while removing excess costs. The result will help to make motor insurance more affordable for us all.”

Support for the bill came from both the British Insurance Brokers' Association and the Association of British Insurers.

The law, the U.K. Ministry of Justice said in a statement, “will reduce the number and cost of compensation for claims for whiplash injuries. It will also reform the way in which the personal injury discount rate is set.”

The ABI has said the legislation was designed to fix “a broken system to help millions of motorists.”

“This bill will ensure people in England and Wales receive fair compensation while reducing excess costs in the system,” the ABI said in a statement on its website. “In a competitive market such cost benefits get passed through to customers, as they did after previous reforms in 2013 when average motor premiums fell by £50 (US$64) over the next two years.”

The ABI said 26 insurance companies have pledged to pass on to consumers any savings they make as a result of the bill.

BIBA described the bill upon its introduction in the House of Commons in March 2018 as an attempt to “help genuine injury claims be settled fairly.”

The legislation, BIBA said, fit well with its own efforts to fight spurious injury claims through its membership in the Insurance Fraud Taskforce. The bill, BIBA said in a statement at the time, would also help deal with problems resulting from the change in the discount rate, which is used to calculate long-term injury claims.


Robert O’Connor is London editor, BestWeek. He can be reached at

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