Ritchie Queries UK Justice Minister on Whiplash Claims

 SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has questioned UK Justice Minister Damian Green about the impact of whiplash claims on the cost of car insurance premiums in Northern Ireland.

Speaking following Justice Questions in the House of Commons, Ms Ritchie said: “The UK Ministry of Justice last week launched a consultation into the assessment of insurance claims for whiplash in England and Wales. The consultation will look at determining the best method to evaluate whiplash claims, including the possible introduction of independent medical assessment panels and I believe that that Justice Minister Ford should be considering a similar consultation in Northern Ireland.

“Increased numbers of whiplash claims are by no means the only factor driving up the cost of car insurance and the recently announced Competition Commission inquiry needs to address the operation of the entire market for insurance in Northern Ireland.  But where fraudulent and spurious insurance claims do exist, they undermine – both financially and emotionally – the cause of those who have suffered and are genuinely in need of support.

“We already pay higher insurance premiums in the North of Ireland than in Britain and it is my hope that immediate action is taken to find the best way to reduce the number of fraudulent injury claims without prejudicing the case of those with genuine injuries and claims.  In answering my question the UK Justice Minister confirmed that it is within David Ford’s power to take action on this and I am encouraging him to do so.”