We all know it is happening, but now we have statistical proof.
The Institute And Faculty Of Actuaries has reported that in 2011 there was an 11% drop in the number of accidents – yet an increase of 18% in the number of personal injury claims. The report described the increase as "staggering".
It put the cost of the additional personal injury claims at £400 million – and every penny of that is going to find its way into next year's insurance claims. Interestingly, the report found claim rates are higher in areas in which many claims management companies operate. These "claims clusters" include Liverpool, Oldham, Wigan and Manchester. Either people in the north-west have particularly fragile necks, or local claims management companies are farming their local neighbourhoods for clients and passing the bills on to us.
Quoted in The Sun newspaper, the Actuaries' chairman, David Brown, said: "The increase in costs to insurers is likely to result in a rise in motor insurance premiums for drivers.
"The clear correlation between claims management office locations and the 'hotspots' for bodily injury claims suggests the two are interlinked. We expect to see legislation coming soon which will affect the way these companies do business."
They recommended that whiplash claimants should be forced to justify their claims and that the whole insurance industry stop its "sharp practices" - such as selling information about customers' accidents to solicitors and claims management firms.