The new edition of the tables, published in March 2007, uses the updated mortality rates as assumed in the 2004 official national population projections and has introduced several changes. One of the most significant of the changes is with respect to a new methodology for assessing deductions to the working life multiplier for dealing with contingencies other than mortality, including the assessment of a Claimant’s residual earning capacity after an accident. Previously, the base multiplier was calculated depending upon the Claimant’s occupation, economic activity and geographical location. These factors are no longer considered appropriate. The new tables provide for adjustments to the base multiplier taking into consideration the Claimant’s educational attainment (ranging from no qualification to degree level) and whether they are in employment or have any residual disability. Using tables showing contingencies other than mortality is likely to reduce claims for loss of earnings.
The new approach appears to favour Defendants but they can actually be used in another way to produce more generous awards for Claimants who are rendered “disabled” following an accident but still retain a residual earning capacity.
Another area of change is with respect to loss of pension. The increase in life expectancy will have the most impact upon the multiplier for loss of pension in cases where there are young Claimants, which will increase damages.
With the further adjustments possible using the new tables and more accurate assessment of damages, in some cases claims will come down and in others they may go up. Insurers will need to review their reserves.