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What’s driving personal auto claims activity?

What has been the most unexpected/surprising factor driving personal auto claims activity over the past few years?

July 20, 2017 Photo

“Drivers’ inability to put down their phones. While smartphones have been prevalent for more than a decade, frequency and severity spiked as a result of the incessant pull of social media, the evolution of our culturally acceptable norms, and the rise of distracted driving.”--John Matley,Insurance Leader, Deloitte’s Future of Mobility Practice. CLM Fellow since 2017.

“The sheer volume of accidents in which one or more drivers have been reading or writing text-based communications at the time of the subject accident, notwithstanding legislation that many states (e.g. Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, Delaware) have enacted prohibiting driving while texting.”--Brigid Alford,Shareholder, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. CLM Member since 2014.

“In my experience, we have noticed a higher number of diminished value claims from motor vehicle accidents than before. We also are noticing more ‘creative’ wage loss claims, particularly from rideshare driver plaintiffs. Finally, the number of traumatic brain injury cases seems to be going up.”--Mark Conforti, Claims Litigation Counsel, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. CLM Fellow since 2013.

“In Georgia, I honestly believe the uptick in claims frequency is driven by personal injury attorney advertising and Georgia’s collateral source rule, which has been expanded to the point of absurdity. The message here is, not only are you entitled to bring a personal injury claim, but also you are expected to bring one.”--Jonathan M. Adelman, Partner, Waldon Adelman Castilla Hiestand & Prout. CLM Member since 2014.


Number of years in a row that the auto insurance industry has reported a combined ratio over 100.

Source: Moody’s Investors Service

$42.5 Billion

Increase in private passenger auto insurance losses from 2006 to 2015.

Source: NAIC data


Number of people killed by distracted driving in 2015.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Percent increase in bodily injury claims severity from 2005 to 2013.

Source: Insurance Research Council, Verisk


Percent of respondents in a February 2017 National Safety Council survey who consider distracted drivers a major traffic safety concern. Only drunk drivers rated higher.
Source: National Safety Council


About The Authors
Phil Gusman

Phil Gusman is senior managing editor for CLM Magazine and Construction Claims magazine.  phil.gusman@theclm.org

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CLM’s Transportation Committee provides education, training, and solutions on significant current commercial and personal transportation issues facing insurance carriers, corporations, and other entities and individuals.

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