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Damages for whiplash injuries

Part of Civil Liability Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 23rd October 2018.

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Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Conservative, Bexhill and Battle 4:15 pm, 23rd October 2018

My hon. Friend is right. Britain is the leading country in the European Union when it comes to insurance. The top 10 insurers are based in London, and I celebrate this international market.

Of course, the insurance industry is very critical of the Conservative party for introducing and increasing the insurance premium tax, so any suggestion that this party does everything the insurance industry would like us to do is not backed up by our decisions.

It is undoubtedly the case that our cars are now much safer and that design and technology mean that injuries should not be as prevalent as we are seeing. We have also seen the growth of claims management companies, which have driven and fuelled claims. Sometimes we see such industries moving on from one sector to take advantage of another—holiday insurance is a good example; the claims management companies have already moved into that sphere. Equally, I would like to see more done with technology to address the ability of such companies to contact me and my constituents directly. People register with BT in order not to receive unsolicited calls, yet such calls still come through regularly. I hope that the technology will eventually keep pace and close down such calls.

I have made my points more than once, and I absolutely support the Bill. Although I can see that the Opposition’s intentions are good, if the amendment were accepted, it would drive a coach and horses through the very intention of this Bill, which is to reduce premiums for all our constituents and to make it easier for them to manage and live their lives.