An inquiry has been launched by The Justice Select Committee into how the whiplash reforms are working. Included in the enquiry is the impact on the number of claims and whether they ensure access to justice. There has been criticism in the past, particularly from claimant representatives, over whether the Official Injury Claims Portal (OICP) is falling short in terms of efficiency of function and the effect on claim numbers.
An objective review of the reforms will be no easy task. With the reform implemented against a backdrop of the pandemic, destabilisation of worldwide energy markets and disturbance to supply chain norms, there are many moving parts. And, to make matters worse, the effects of these phenomena are highly complex and many insurers are reporting significantly increased levels of observed fraud.
Whiplash reforms also brought a paradigm shift into the insurance industry. Recoverable legal costs once incentivised defendants to claim, but, in today’s world, represented claimants without legal expenses insurance are likely to pay away part of their damages to a representative under an ‘after the event’ funding arrangement.
Some may ask whether it’s too soon to see the fully developed effect of the reforms. The Court of Appeal only recently delivered guidance on how practitioners should approach claims which allege both ‘injuries that are covered by tariff damages’ and those that are not. However, much uncertainty was left hanging in the air; volumes of claims are currently reduced from the pre-reform period, only 18% of notifications to OICP have been settled (as of December 2022) and over two thirds of all notified claims in Q4 last year involve mixed injury types. It may be the case that settlement value patterns cannot yet be confidently predicted.
It's clear that those who crafted the reforms never intended a level of represented claimants above 90%. But, whilst reasons for this might include complexity of process, potential commercial returns being taken by representatives need to be considered. Claimant representation at this level is an important dimension to be understood and weighed in any enquiry.
Attempting to directly correlate changes in motor insurance premiums with whiplash reforms is too simplistic. The premiums charged by motor insurers have to pay for much more than just whiplash claims, and in the same period since the reforms were implemented there has been rampant inflationary pressure in almost every component of business cost that motor insurers face.
Understanding all these moving parts is critical for insurers and will become ever more so as all elements of motor claims cost, including whiplash injury, develop in the coming months. 360Globalnet can provide valuable insights into injury claim portfolios and how they can develop in response to changes of this type. Our technology, 360Retrieve, can ingest all unstructured data; claims forms, OICP documents, MOJ documents, emails, letters, image metadata, expert reports, and much more – and turn 100% of that data searchable and capable of analysis. Attributes present within individual claims - such as injury types - are rendered searchable and reportable to provide a powerful magnifying glass into the ways in which the portfolio might be affected by a changing legal environment. Using the same methodology and customer-specified search criteria, 360Retrieve can deliver a wide range of management insights, from case-specific fraud detection to whole-portfolio evaluation. This can then be broken down to entity level delivering ‘Know Your Opponent’ (KYO) analysis.
If you would like to discuss how 360Retrieve could deliver analytical capability across 100% of your available data, get in touch to arrange an in-person or virtual demonstration.