Willis Re: Downward Trend in Large Motor Claims Continues, as UK Car Insurance Premiums Show Significant Increases
London, UK, December 07, 2011 – UK motor insurance premiums have continued to rise in 2011, with
some drivers facing price increases of up to 50 percent. At the same time, the fall
in the number of deaths and serious injuries on British roads has resulted in a 10
percent year-on-year reduction in the frequency of large claims (measured against premium income). This is according
to the findings of the annual UK Motor Market Review by Willis Re, a leading reinsurance
advisor and part of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global insurance broker.
Willis Re’s fourth annual review, which surveys over 50 percent of the UK motor insurance market, examines
patterns in large motor claims. A summary of the report can be accessed here.
Commenting on the main findings of the report, Richard Bloss, Executive Director, Willis Re, notes that the
motor market is in a state of flux, both on the insurance and reinsurance side. “We’ve
seen significant increases in what people are paying for their car insurance, and a gradual but
clearly discernible pattern of reducing numbers of deaths and serious injuries on the UK roads.”
Bloss added: “At the same time, those serious claims that are still happening are tending to cost
on average nine percent more than last year, and many are being settled as continuous regular
payments for the remainder of the claimant’s life, which dramatically increases the time horizon.”
Other key trends highlighted by the survey include:
The tendency for large bodily injury claim values to escalate faster than inflation has been recognised
for some time. The report shows, however, that the rate of escalation has remained relatively constant
over time – a good point for motor insurers to be able to demonstrate in motor
Insurers are generally becoming more accurate in their reserving of claims. As earlier
reserving becomes the norm, we are seeing general claims valuation reaching maturity much more quickly than
in the past. The study shows that claims reserves are six percent closer to maturity by
the end of the second year than they were in 2010.
Increases in original premiums
and falling accident numbers have meant that the number of large claims (up to a value
of £5million), measured against premium, have reduced by 10 percent.
Male policyholders are twice as
likely as female policyholders to have a large claim.
General market indices of comparative motor premiums have shown significant increases of up to 50 percent in
the past year. Catherine Pearson, Executive Director, Willis Re, says that this data has to be
treated with care: “When we look at the actual price rises achieved by insurers, they generally
seem to be less dramatic than some of the indices suggest. We think that what might
be happening is that drivers faced by substantial premium increases may well be adjusting the cover
they buy in order to mitigate the up-front cost.” Taking this into account, the Willis Re
study has used more conservative assumptions of annual rate change.
Participating companies have found the study to be a valuable source of data on claims trends in
the wider UK market, but Grange Turner, Executive Director, Willis Re, says the benefits of the
research do not stop there. “The large database that we now have enables us to measure
with some accuracy, the relative likelihood of suffering a claim from the different sectors of the
book. We now know, for example, that non-comprehensive policyholders are nearly twice as likely to suffer
a serious loss than people buying comprehensive cover.”
Turner added: “Once we look at these relativities on a multiplicative basis, we can examine how an
insurer’s developing portfolio changes the overall scale of risk to the excess of loss reinsurance. Using
this information, we’ve had considerable success in recent years in convincing reinsurers to offer pricing reductions
for our clients.”
The full contents of the report are issued on a confidential basis to participating insurers who have
provided data for the study, but the public is able to access a summary of the
About Willis Re
One of the world's leading reinsurance brokers, Willis Re is known for its world-class Analytics capabilities, which
it combines with its Capital Markets and Reinsurance expertise in a seamless, integrated offering that helps
clients increase the value of their businesses. Willis Re serves the risk management and risk transfer
needs of a diverse, global client base that includes all of the world's top insurance and
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Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers
professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public
entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries,
with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the
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