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This year’s Lyons Davidson Insurance Conference focused entirely on the RAPID claims process and the Ministry of Justice PI Portal one year on from its introduction.

The conference was well attended, with over 100 delegates representing 34 different insurers and organisations within the insurance industry.

From the discussions throughout the day, I would summarise the main points as:

  • The initial introduction of the Portal was a disaster!
  • The MIB have done a good job in improving management and change control;
  • There is still work to do on the functionality of the Portal;
  • The process had delivered efficiency benefits and looked to be shortening the lifecycle of claims;
  • There is concern about the risk of fraud at Stage 1;
  • The number of Stage 3 hearings are now starting to rapidly increase – and insurers are losing most hearings;
  • Application-to-application technology provides real benefits (and is coveted by those that don’t have it!);
  • The potential management information was very valuable, but delivery by the Portal was still a long way off;
  • It was very likely that the process would be extended…
  •  …BUT it was too early to deliver judgment on the overall value of the process.

Feedback received from delegates was that it was an interesting day, providing a good opportunity to share experience and understand how others were dealing with the process. The year ahead clearly brings many challenges as Stage 3 starts to make more of an impact and the ‘sleeping’ Stage 2 claims begin to emerge; inevitably the Portal will have a place at our conference next year.

Details of the speakers and a summary of their talks are set out below and you can also download conference slides by clicking on the titles beneath names.

It would be great to have your feedback through the comments link and for anyone else to post their views on the process generally. I hope you enjoyed the conference and look forward to meeting you again next year at MOJ Two Years On!!

The speakers:

Mark Savill, Lyons Davidson
The Lawyers’ Experience
Mark reviewed the experience of our Claimant and Defendant MOJ teams, explaining our development of some A2A middleware and the efficiencies that this provides. He then went on to review the results of over 25,000 claimant claims to show not only what insurer activity we were seeing but, more importantly, the trends of that activity. This really made clear the visibility you can get from the Portal if you are able to access and harness the data it captures. The most important statistic was probably the fact that the number of claims staying in the MOJ process has fallen from around 70% at the start of the process to 62%. Mark also confirmed that overall settlement times were increasing, as some of the older ‘stock’ starts settling – at trend likely to continue .

The Insurer Experience
There was plenty of (anonymous) feedback from insurers before the conference, introducing the concept of ‘pessoptimism’ to explain how most people felt! There were some positives with the efficiencies that the process brought and again the benefits of A2A came up. There was also lots of discussion about the risk of fraud, particularly around the ‘£400 club’ and the disappearing Stage 1 claims. The overall verdict was a feeling of a need to wait and see.

Tim Wallis, Independent Chairman, RTA Portal Ltd
Managing the Portal
Tim gave a very balanced talk explaining the pressures that caused the issues when the Portal was introduced, complimenting the MIB on the work they had done to get things right and talking about the next steps in development of the Portal. The message was clear that the change management process meant that future updates would be well managed, but that this would lengthen the time it took to implement any improvements and developments. The management information that the Portal had developed was being tested and Tim emphasised that – with a number of issues with the quality of the data caused by duplicates – it would be some time before this was available. There was also some interesting discussion about the behaviour committee and questions as to how effective this would be.

Joe Pendle, Director of Client Services, Insurance Services Office Ltd
Valuation tools
Joe discussed some of the developments that ISO have introduced, explaining their A2A development and the management information that they capture. He also discussed the role of valuation tools in the Portal process and explained the details of PICAS Plus, the automated damages assessment process that they are piloting. This is something that Lyons Davidson have been closely involved in, taking the lead in resolving the Data Protection questions that the process posed, as well as dealing with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. With These aspects now resolved, we will be piloting the next stage of this process.

Tactics and FAQs
Examining points such as the effect of admissions on claims that turn out to be considerably bigger than the £10,000 limit, TCF and settlements without policyholders instructions and issues of causation. We also looked at the progress of Stage 2 and Stage 3 around the consideration period, and were taken back to a quote in Woolard to put the current process in a different context.

Stage 3 Hearings
Peter ended the conference with some revealing statistics collected from our Advocacy team’s experiences to date from the front line of Stage 3. The increase in the number of hearings booked over the next months gave a clear indication of what insurers are going to face, but didn’t cause as much concern as the fact that the claimants are beating the defendants final offer in 95% of hearings and by an average margin of 20%. As a firm, we are closely reviewing the level of awards and will be releasing further statistics and information as the number of decisions increase.