Almost Nine in Ten Doctors Believe That Government Should Introduce New Measures to Control Whiplash Claims [1]

Almost Nine in Ten Doctors Believe That Government Should Introduce New Measures to Control Whiplash Claims [1]

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Almost Nine in Ten Doctors Believe That Government Should Introduce New Measures to Control Whiplash Claims [1] PR Newswire COBHAM, England, September 20, 2012 COBHAM, England, September 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AXA, one of the UK's leading car insurers, has carried out research among UK doctors as part of its ongoing campaign to understand the culture of Personal Injury (PI) claims in the UK and reduce the payouts that have driven substantial rises in car insurance premiums. [2]The research revealed that doctors were under pressure to be part of the £2bn PI payout not just through increasing numbers of whiplash patients taking up surgery time but with 7% actually being offered money to refer patients with whiplash injuries. Over the last month, AXA car insurance polled doctors across the UK and an overwhelming 88% of those surveyed said they felt the government should introduce new measures to control whiplash claims for motorists. 22% said they had seen a substantial increase in whiplash patients over the last five years while a further 40% had seen a moderate increase in this period. Over the last year alone 11% had seen substantial increases and 31% moderate increases. Doctors surveyed believe that on average, 37% of patients who come to them with whiplash as a result of a car accident are fraudulent, while a third of doctors believe this number to be over 50%.

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Almost Nine in Ten Doctors Believe That Government Should Introduce New Measures to Control Whiplash Claims [1]
PR Newswire COBHAM, England, September 20, 2012
COBHAM,England,September 20, 2012/PRNewswire/ --
AXA, one of the UK's leading car insurers, has carried out research among UK doctors as part of its ongoing campaign to understand the culture of Personal Injury (PI) claims in the UK and reduce the payouts that have driven substantial rises in car insurance premiums.
The research revealed that doctors were under pressure to be part of the £2bn [2] PI payoutnot just through increasing numbers of whiplash patients taking up surgery time but with 7% actually being offered money to refer patients with whiplash injuries. Over the last month, AXA car insurance polled doctors across the UK and an overwhelming 88% of those surveyed said they felt the government should introduce new measures to control whiplash claims for motorists. 22% said they had seen a substantial increase in whiplash patients over the last five years while a further 40% had seen a moderate increase in this period. Over the last year alone 11% had seen substantial increases and 31% moderate increases. Doctors surveyed believe that on average, 37% of patients who come to them with whiplash as a result of a car accident are fraudulent, while a third of doctors believe this number to be over 50%. Over half (58%) of the doctors involved in the AXA study signed off 50 per cent or less of patients as having a genuine whiplash injury. One of the biggest problems faced by doctors is the accuracy of whiplash diagnosis - only 7% believe it is very easy to accurately diagnose. To improve this situation, 78% agree that there should be a more rigorous approach to assessing injuries, while access to more detailed guidelines around whiplash type injuries was desired by 71% of doctors surveyed. Better tests (47%), access to specialist clinics (38%) and expert opinion (39%) were also cited as popular improvements that could be made. Three in five doctors spent less than 10 minutes assessing a whiplash injury and only 5% agree strongly with the statement that they have enough time to deal with these patients effectively. Overall doctors have a very negative view of the increase in patients pursuing financial compensation for whiplash injuries. Only 4% believe that it is a positive thing that the UK is now much more equipped to compensate people injured in an accident while 45% believe it has a negative effect on society. However, they were broadly unaware of the actual financial cost to the UK with 77% underestimating the £2bn price tag. Over the last year, AXA has led the way in the car insurance industry by being
the first insurer to drop referral fees for PI claims and leading a campaign which contributed to the government banning these fees across the industry. Earlier this year, the company also carried out a study with Thatcham, the leading motor research organisation, into cars on UK roads and estimated only 34% have head restraints and seats that would be categorised as "good" when it comes to reducing the risk of the driver being the victim of whiplash injuries. Sarah Vaughan, motor director at AXA insurance said: "We are determined to put a stop to the totally unnecessary levels of compensation payments being made for whiplash in the UK. "We have already made a first step towards doing this through campaigning for and securing the banning of referral fees. But we believe that compensation is still far too easy to come by. "Our study clearly shows that the medical profession is under real pressure in this area and crying out for more guidance and support to help them deal with a rapidly growing number of whiplash patients." 1. Research carried out by YouGov among 100 UK doctors inJuly 2012 2. Source: ABI
Notes to Editors All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 101 doctors. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th and18th July 2012. The survey was carried out online. About AXA AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 163,000 employees serving 101 million clients in 57 countries. In 2011, IFRS revenues amounted toEuro 86.1 billion and IFRS Underlying Earnings toEuro 3.9 billion. AXA hadEuro 1,065 billionin assets under management as ofDecember 31, 2011. In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business, Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD, and is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance.