Motor Third Party Working Party 2011 Communications Pack

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1 Motor Third Party Working Party 2011 Communications Pack Purpose of this paper The Motor Third Party Working Party analyses data from insurers on third party motor claims in the UK. This year s analysis follows on from a similar study last year, but uses a greater range of data. During this period, car insurance premiums have continued to increase. This year s Working Party has found a number of interesting trends and key messages from the updated data. These are discussed in this pack. Key Findings The key findings from the working party that are relevant for this paper are: 1. A strong positive correlation exists between the number of Claims Management Companies (CMCs)* in a region and the proportion of private car insurance claims that involve injury to third parties. In general, more CMCs mean more injury claims. 2. The growth in CMCs continued in National CMC turnover increased by 50% to 377m. The strongest growth in CMCs has been in North West England, North East England and West London. 3. Northwest England has the highest proportion of private car insurance claims that involve injury to third parties. This proportion has increased since last year, and is now higher than in any of the US States. Northwest England also has one of the highest concentrations of CMCs. 4. Scotland has the lowest proportion of private car insurance claims that involve injury to third parties. Scotland also has a far lower number of CMCs in operation, due to stricter controls on referral fees. 5. The public drove 2% less in 2010 than in 2009, which has coincided with higher petrol prices, and there were 6% fewer accidents in 2010 than in There is also a negative correlation between petrol prices and the number of large motor third party insurance claims (above 100,000, indexed in 2010 money). 6. Private car insurance third party injury claim frequency and number of claimants per claim have increased since 2000, and both peaked in While the number of accidents decreased in 2010, the proportion of claims involving injury claims continued to increase. The number of claimants per claim decreased slightly in has the highest observed value of large motor third party injury claims (claims above 100,000, indexed in 2010 money), with 2010 the second-worst observed year. 8. The proportion of large motor insurance third party injury claims that are above 2m (unindexed) has risen over the last few years, outstripping the rate of indexation. This may be due to changing legal awards and increasing costs of care for very large claims. 1

2 9. There were fewer motorbike accidents in 2010 than in previous years. This is part of a decreasing trend since Possible reasons could be the Think Bike campaign, more experienced bikers, higher insurance costs, or fewer car journeys. Geographical Distribution of Claims (key findings 1-4) There is a relationship between the number of Claims Management Companies (CMCs) and the proportion of private car insurance claims that involve bodily injury to third parties. This is shown by the map and table below: Region % of private car insurance claims involving bodily injury North-West England 42.8% Nevada (highest 40.3% ratio in the US) North-East England 37.4% Yorkshire 33.5% Central 30.5% London + South-East 29.5% England (excl. Kent and Essex) UK average 29.4% Wales 28.3% East Anglia 25.8% Borders 23.1% West and South- 22.4% West England Kent and Essex (excl. 21.8% M25) Scotland 20.4% North-East Scotland 13.0% CMC density per head of population (red represents high densities) % of private car insurance claims involving third party bodily injury (2011) While the proportion of private car insurance claims in London involving third party bodily injury is about average for the UK, London is the area with the fastest growth in the proportion of third party claims involving injury, with double the UK average growth. West London also has one of the highest growth rates in CMC activity in the UK. The data also shows that rural areas have higher than average third party injury costs, with the most severe injury claims occurring in North East Scotland and the Borders. 2

3 Vehicle Miles Change in Vehicle Miles Petrol Prices, Road Usage and Number of Accidents (key finding 5) There is a clear relationship between the price of petrol and the amount of vehicle usage, with a greater sensitivity to increases than decreases in petrol price. This is the likely reason why car usage has fallen since 2007, as shown by the graphs below: Relationship between Petrol Price and Vehicle Usage (since 1993) 3% 2% 1% 0% -15% -10% -5% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% -1% -2% -3% Change in Real Petrol Price Cars Year Cars The reduction in car usage is thought to have contributed to a 6% reduction in accidents in However, increasing proportions of accidents involve third party injury claims (linked to the rise in Claims Management Companies). The number of claimants per claim rose each year from 2005 to 2009, and fell slightly in still has the second highest number of claimants per claim since recording began in

4 000s Large car insurance third party injury claims (key findings 5, 7 and 8) These involve third party injury claims that are above 100,000, indexed in 2010 terms. The data shows that the number of large claims dropped significantly in 2010, and that there is a relationship between the number of large claims and petrol prices. When petrol prices have increased, the number of large claims has fallen: 2009 had the highest observed cost of large third party claims. Costs decreased slightly in 2010, but are still the second highest observed: Total cost of claims above 100,000, indexed in 2010 money Accident Period The data also shows that the proportion of large third party injury claims that are very large (above 2m, unindexed) has increased over the last few years at a faster rate than allowed for in the indexation rate of 7% used in our study. This increase may be due to: 4

5 Increasing costs of care and more complicated care regimes for very serious claims. Examples include care workers being paid for 24 hours a day and having holidays funded. Different legal judgements on how insurers must pay for very large claims, such as Periodic Payment Orders (PPOs). These pay for care on an ongoing basis rather than as a lump sum upfront. PPOs can be more costly to insurers than a lump sum as they have a long term nature. Motorbike claim experience different trends from cars (key finding 9) The number of third party motorbike claims has fallen since 2005, with 2010 having the lowest recent claims frequency. This is good news for motorbike riders, with possible reasons being: The recent Think Bike campaign raising awareness of motorbike road safety. Fewer car journeys being made since 2007 and fewer recent car accidents (leading to fewer accidents involving cars and motorbikes). Higher insurance premiums discouraging younger riders, and more experienced motorbike riders. Although the number of claims has fallen, the proportion of third party claims that involve injury has risen every year since This follows the same pattern as for private car insurance claims; although the proportions are lower for motorbikes. *Claims Management Companies Claims Management Companies (CMCs) offer advice or services in respect of claims for compensations, restitution, repayment or any other remedy for loss or damage; within the context of this paper the CMCs are assisting with injury claims. Notes on the data used The majority of data for this study was made available from the year The companies covered in our study represent over 85% of the FSA regulated UK motor insurance market. Additional data used for this year s study includes data on claimants per claim, individual analysis of large claims, and economic information about CMCs. Where monetary amounts have been used, they were indexed at 7% per annum in 2010 money. This rate is a commonly accepted level of indexation used within the industry reflecting broadly long term expectations of bodily injury inflation. Indexing is where we adjust monetary amounts in prior years to make sure they are comparable after inflation. Very large claims (those above 2m) are discussed in this paper. These claims have not been indexed, in order to achieve consistency with previous studies. However these claims have grown at a double digit rate (up to 20% yearly), which suggests that the 7% indexation rate is not high enough to reflect inflation for such claims. 5

6 Background to the Motor Insurance Industry Motor insurance offers cover to both personal and commercial customers in the UK and is compulsory in respect of third party property damage and third party bodily injury. This paper focuses on personal lines, and on comprehensive cover rather than noncomprehensive cover due its far larger size. FSA regulated insurers collect of the order of 10 billion in motor premiums each year. The motor insurance industry lost money in both 2009 and 2010 (as per the FSA returns based on combined operating ratios). In 2010 there was a loss of over 20p for every 1 of premium sold - a loss of 24p for every 1 of premium for personal policies and an equivalent loss of 10p for commercial policies. Insurance premiums are rising as a consequence of increasing claims costs. The Confused.Com/Towers Watson press release of April 2011 cited private car market increases of 36% for comprehensive policies during the 12 months to 30 March 2011 (with even greater increases for non comprehensive policies). It is likely that material further increases will be required before the UK insurance market moves into profit. Background to the Working Party The Institute & Faculty of Actuaries commissioned a working party to investigate third party motor insurance based on some worrying inflationary trends being reported by individual insurers. The working party reported its initial findings covering a restricted set of the 2010 data at the General Insurance Pricing Seminar in June This is being expanded in the work currently being undertaken, with results to be published at the 2011 GIRO conference. These findings were based on data it collected from 85% of the UK FSA regulated motor market up to and including the year 2010 in addition to data from some non FSA regulated insurers. In addition, the working party also carried out research on international trends and the link between the legal framework and claim inflation. Ministry of Justice Proposal in September 2011 Banning Referral Fees In September 2011 the Ministry of Justice proposed that referral fees will be banned. The news was welcomed by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, due to the link between the recent rise in motor insurance premiums and the rise of claims management companies. However, this proposal has not yet been passed into law, and there is currently no recognised definition of a referral fee. The Institute also noted that there is some way to go before insurance companies stop losing money on motor insurance policies, and so premium increases are unlikely to be a thing of the past. Disclaimer This paper represents the personal views of the working party members who do not accept any liability for reliance on it, and make no warranty as to its content or accuracy. This presentation supports the research effort of the Actuarial Profession s working party and is not written advice directed at the particular facts and circumstances of any given situation and/or data. 6

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