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In their pocket

The latest government attacks on personal injury claimants are based on a distorted view of the market, says David Ellis

3 October 2011

Last month saw an extraordinary attack on claimant personal injury lawyers by the insurance industry, the government and opposition MP Jack Straw, culminating in an announcement to ban referral fees and Jack Straw’s proposed Motor Insurance Regulation Bill in his ten minute speech to parliament.

In an article on the BBC website on the rising cost of motor insurance premiums Paul Evans, chief executive of AXA UK and Ireland, claimed that for insurers motor insurance has not been profitable for many years due to the cost of personal injury claims. Mr Evans called for a ban on referral fees and criticised the level of costs in low value personal injury claims currently fixed at £1,350. This startling suggestion that UK motor insurers do not make a profit was not borne out by the figures, with AXA UK’s profits being announced as being up by 34 per cent overall. In addition Admiral’s chief operating officer announced that pre- tax profits for the first six months of the year...

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