Motor claims fell to just over 107,000 during the first three months of the year, according to the latest Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) statistics.
The accident claims statistics for January to March 2021 were released following a freedom of information request from the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO).
They revealed a year-on-year decrease in motor accident claims from just under 157,000 in January to March 2020, to just over 107,000 during the same period this year, a fall of 31%.
Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO, said: “The fall this year continues a long-term downwards trend in motor claims. This started well before the pandemic, which has accelerated the decline.”
“It will be interesting to see whether the launch of the new online small claims portal at the end of May will lead to a further fall in registered claims, as was the government’s expectation.”
The fall in motor accident claims follows news that comprehensive car insurance premiums decreased by 14% over the past 12 months.
Maxwell Scott said: “This is good news but is undoubtedly due to the impact of the pandemic on claims frequency. The promised £35 of savings per premium expected as a result of the whiplash reforms needs to come on top of this if consumer confidence in the insurance industry is not to take another knock.”
He added: “In reality, Covid has finished the government’s job for it. Motor claims dropped by nearly 25% between 2019 and 2020 and we see no reason why overall claims will not continue to decline as driving continues to change and evolve in future.”
Claims for employers’ liability and public liability also fell on a like-for-like basis since Q4 2020, although there has been a significant increase in clinical negligence claims, up from just over 3,800 (October to December 2020) to just over 5,900 (January to March 2021), a rise of 55% in three months.
Maxwell Scott said: “This is a significant jump, reversing a long-term declining trend which has also seen a falling off of legal costs. It could reflect overstretch in the NHS following the extraordinary efforts to manage the impact of Covid-19 over the last 12 months.”