crash car resizeA fourth report on the cost of car insurance is to be published by the House of Commons transport select committee this summer, it has been revealed.

Committee chairperson Louise Ellman told the Liverpool Law Society conference that it would take the ‘highly unusual’ step of looking further into the reasons for the high cost of premiums.

A report by the Law Society Gazette revealed the committee’s last publication is seen to have influenced the government’s decision not to increase the small-claims court limit for whiplash cases.

The report will focus on the progress of accredited whiplash panels, expected to come into force in October; the cost of replacement vehicles and what Ellman described as the ‘phenomenon’ of the rise in claims for psychological disorders.

The committee will also look at the issue of insurers under-settling claims and the information passed to companies by insurers for cold calling and spam texts.

‘We’re trying to look at the issue of access to justice while reducing fraud,’ said Ellman.

The Liverpool MP conceded that the government may choose to revisit its plans for the small-claims court limit and she stated that justice would be ‘impaired’ if insurance companies could argue their case with experts against a claimant with no expertise.

She did, however, back the government’s proposals to remove damages altogether if it is found the claimant has been dishonest.

“If there is a deliberate attempt to grossly exaggerate a claim perhaps [the claim] could all be struck out, not just a bit of it,” she said.

Last year the transport committee warned that unrepresented claimants may not feel confident to represent themselves in what will seem to some to be a complex and intimidating process.