Whipping up a storm of activity

Author / contact: Mike Gilpin.


It has been several years since the UK Government announced plans to mitigate frivolous claims and their impact on motor insurance premiums. The ‘Whiplash Reforms’ as they became known are about to become a reality, with a launch date of 31st May 2021.  With the start clock ticking down, we take a look at the technical and process pinch points that compensators are facing.

There is no doubt this is a seismic change for Road Traffic Accident claims, and an ambitious goal. The devil, as usual, is in the detail and there are a large (and still growing) number of questions still to be answered.

The reforms will result in procedural changes for all those in the motor insurance sector. With the new Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal launching in a matter of weeks www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk, and operating alongside the existing MOJ portal, there will necessarily be a new layer of complexity for claims teams to consider, and many new rules to become familiar with. Despite the considerable planning work, all those involved anticipate fixes being required after launch, correcting the inevitable teething issues that come with a radical new process. As a result, many in the industry have elected to wait for the dust to settle before distracting busy internal IT teams with coding changes to claims systems, and will rely on claims handlers to manually monitor activity on the new portal as it ramps up.

And ramp up it will. While OIC is valid for new claims arising from accidents from 31st May, the operators of the service (MoJ via the MIB) have indicated that they expect around 150,000 claims to be processed on the service in the first year, with use accelerating beyond that. There are several reasons why claims might not complete their journey in the new system, such as the overall claim value tipping over the cost limits, perhaps complicated by a lack of understanding of how the system works.

Remember, one of the aims of the OIC is to encourage claimants to make their own claims through the new online service, unsupported by professional advisors.

Across the industry many are working hard to analyse the rules and predict the impact of these changes, we leave the legal analysis to the lawyers in the LLP. Our focus at Kennedys IQ is to support our clients with integration to the OIC from launch through our Portal Manager solution, creating a seamless environment that monitors claims made via both the existing MOJ and the new OIC portals. All of us working on such integrations are facing a short time frame made complicated by multiple announcements of releases as details are gradually made available.

In fact those changes are not limited to OIC, but also affect the existing MOJ portal. So, some organisations who have operational interfaces to the existing portal will be required to consider the impact of those changes on their existing systems.

With the potential scale of change and the uncertainty as to how the new system (and surrounding legal processes) will settle in, we understand the attraction of ‘wait and see’. With Portal Manager being both an integration service as well as a complete SaaS solution, we are taking a different approach. Our UI (user interface) is ready, and will present users with OIC claims activity from day one. From here we iterate. Rapid development driven by user feedback and data allowing us to react to user behaviour. The analysis and input from the lawyers in the LLP mentioned above allows us to offer additional services and benefits within the system easing the burden on claims handlers operating a new system. All this together will inform how the user experience will evolve and deliver responsive strategies that will augment claims handlers in delivering their expertise in the right way to the benefit of customers whilst safely managing litigants in person.

One of the first areas that every compensator will be watching carefully is the point where new claims are first notified. A generous sounding 30 working day deadline stretches before you. Yet there is a lot to do, and failure to complete will result in a default acceptance of liability when the sand runs out in the timer. There will be new rigour required to review and establish the features relevant to making claims decisions, including securing the evidence required from the insured and witnesses. Information flows will need to be expedited – especially where broker/insurer relationships exist. Customer journeys through the claims process will need to be protected and enhanced – and great technology is going to be vital to support that.

Advanced automation techniques may help to assess claim notification details in the first instance, offering early indicators of missing or incomplete information. Indeed, this is an ideal moment to introduce new approaches to managing claims. Most insurers are actively investigating techniques for reducing touches on their claims process.

Technology has advanced rapidly in recent years and shows no sign of slowing. Insurers should seek to tap in to those advances now to support them through the current whiplash reform changes. But also ensure your solution can react to changes to that process, and also has a roadmap for the future.

To learn more about the roadmap for Portal Manager and how it can help your business both now and in the future, contact the team at Kennedys IQ.


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