Norwich Union announces new approach to whiplash claims

Article date: 1 November 2006

Norwich Union has announced the rollout of an innovative andground breaking approach to rehabilitation. Working withRehabilitation UK and a university based academic team the insurerhas reviewed the treatment of hundreds of whiplash injuries toestablish a best practice protocol using evidence based medicine(EBM).

Since 2005 the insurer has been collating information from itspilot rehabilitation centre in Maidenhead. The results show that anEBM model delivers positive clinical and claims outcomes.Consequently the approach is to be adopted on all Norwich Unionwhiplash claims and is being implemented in conjunction with threepreferred partners IPRS, Rehabworks and Rehabilitation UK.

Norwich Union currently handles 50,000 whiplash claims a year about80% of their total bodily injury claims volume.

A personally tailored programme is delivered by clinically trainedtelephone based handlers who provide the injured person withinformation on their condition and advice on how they can bestcontrol and manage their own recovery. If the claimant requiresphysiotherapy then this is arranged via PhysiotherapyNetworks.

The new rehabilitation model is a more holistic approach and hasachieved positive clinical outcomes for injured people returningthem back to health far quicker:

  • 40% of injured persons supported to full recovery withoutneeding hands on treatment
  • Where physiotherapy is required the average number of sessionsis four as opposed to eight.

The time taken to settle claims under £5,000 has reduced by twothirds. There has also been a reduction in the overall claims coststhough not due to a decrease in damages but in a reduction in theamount paid to claimant lawyers.

Norwich Union believes that whiplash claims are typicallystraightforward and capable of fair and swift resolution and do notneed to generate disproportionate legal costs.

Claimants favour the use of rehabilitation and nearly 90% of themsaid they were happy with the new approach.

Historically the compensation system has focused on making paymentsto an injured person rather than concerning itself with theirwellbeing and helping them recover.

Dominic Clayden, director of technical claims, says: “Wewould like to see rehabilitation at the heart of the compensationprocess and more willing engagement with claimants and theirrepresentatives focusing all stakeholders on the injuredperson’s quick recovery rather than the size of acheque.”

Norwich Union Healthcare is currently piloting a back pain protocolfor its PMI (Private Medical Insurance) customer and has not ruledout further EBM services. Harnessing the skills and resourceswithin its healthcare and occupational health divisions it aims todevelop it’s own clinical telephone case management facilityand deliver treatments via its network of nationwide occupationalhealth centres.


Media contact:
David Ross at Norwich Union pressoffice on 01603 699665 / 07800 699665

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK’slargest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with afocus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment productsand one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAsprovide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in theUK.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at

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