Insurance Downgrades Due to Personal Injury Exposure

Insurers which are dealing with multiple personal injury claims are facing the prospect of a downgrade from credit rating agencies. This is largely due to Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs), which are an alternative to lump sum settlements in personal injury cases. Under a PPO a claimant will still receive a lump sum, but a smaller one, which is then periodically topped up to cover costs such as medical expenses and to compensate claimants for loss of earnings.

PPOs were introduced by the Courts Act 2003 which gave courts the power to grant claimants settlements to cover them for the rest of their lives. Two years after their introduction less than five claims were settled using PPOs whereas by the end of 2010 almost 20 claims were settled in this way. This increased trend has been driven by low interest rates amongst other factors.  Continue reading

Issues with injury claims and the personal injury market

The last decade has witnessed a boom in personal injury claims, particularly in those areas such as road traffic accidents, and work-related accidents. Whiplash injury claims have soared, with many labelling this new era as the ‘compensation culture’.

Although it is actually relatively simple to pursue a personal injury claim, the perceived complexity of such claims has led to a burst in claims management companies (CMCs).

Those that are thinking of using these companies should be wary of whether they are actually getting professional advice – many use ‘claims specialists’ rather than actual solicitors – and so advice can sometimes be diluted, or not be as professional as one might expect.

Problem #1: Time Delays between the Accident and the Claim

One of the biggest problems with personal claims is the time delay between the accident and the beginning of the case. Most of these claims are based on the negligence of the defendant, and so need to be pursued within 3 years from the date the injured party becomes aware of the fact that they have suffered an injury. Note that the time limit does not begin from the date of the accident, but from the date at which the claimant realises their injury. Continue reading