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Beware the science of insurance companies

An article posted by touted “Insurers near breakthrough in battle against whiplash fraud.” The article notes that Thatcham, the British Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, announced that it expects to produce “court admissible” whiplash research to help insurers fend off “fraudulent” motor claims by the end of next year. The work is part of an international insurance program involving insurers from Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. The motor research center has also hired judges and law firms to ensure that the evidence it has conjured is to be admissible in court. Nothing like paying some lawyers to make sure everything is fair towards the people paying their bills.

Earlier this year Thatcham began investigating the effects of car collisions at five to eight mph. Work is shortly due to begin on crashes at 15mph. Insurers hope the research will result in “compelling evidence” that proves injuries cannot be sustained in collisions below a certain speed.

Of course, what Thatcham can’t replicate it that most wrecks are unexpected occurrences and not something that can be compared to a low speed planned collision in a laboratory.

Thatcham’s research crash manager, Matthew Avery, said: “We are looking at how we can curb whiplash fraud. He added that by the end of the year the developers hoped to have produced a prototype of a computer-based whiplash injury tool kit or “witkit”, which analyses the injury risk resulting from crashes at different speeds and involving different types of cars and seats. Insurers will then be able to take this “data” and decide whether or not to refute a personal injury claim. H’mm, I wonder whether they would do that. Of course, the program has not been described as being able to discern the affect of trauma on men versus women, old versus young, previously injured but recovered versus those never injured.

David Williams, claims director at Axa, added that it is not only insurers who should be positive about the research but also claimant solicitors as they are duty-bound to ensure people don’t put fraudulent claims through the courts. I wonder whether plaintiff’s lawyers were asked their position about the validity of such testing.