UK insurers say court decision saves $480 mln

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - British insurers on Wednesday welcomed a court decision on the timing of a planned increase in personal injury awards, saying it would save them 300 million pounds ($479.95 million).

"Today's decision by the Court of Appeal means that insurers will not be forced to pass on about 300 million pounds in increased costs to the premium paying public," said James Dalton, assistant director of motor and liability at the Association of British Insurers.

"We have won a battle against unnecessary costs, but not the war."

The ruling means that the increase in awards will apply only to claims that are made after April 1 2013, but not to older claims that are settled beyond that date.

Direct Line, the British insurer in the process of listing its shares on the London stock market, had warned that it might take a hit of up to 45 million pounds if the decision had gone the other way.

Direct Line declined to comment. ($1 = 0.6251 British pounds)

(Reporting by Myles Neligan; editing by Matt Scuffham)

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