718 claims submitted in August

Two in five employers’ (EL) and public liability (PL) claims submitted to the claims portal left the system in the first month, new figures reveal.

Some 718 claims were submitted in August, but only 425 of those remained in the portal at the end of the month.

The road traffic accident portal was expanded to process EL and PL claims up to £25,000 on 31 July. The move was designed to speed up claims processing times and slash legal expenses by moving fees to a fixed-costs structure.

Claims settled in the portal have capped legal costs of £900 for claims between £1,000 and £10,000 and £1,600 for claims of £10,000 to £25,000.

The addition of EL and PL to the portal also cut the time insurers have to respond to liability claims from 90 to 30 and 40 days respectively.

Before the changes, legal represenatives could charge an hourly rate. They still can if insurers fail to respond to the claim in time or if they dispute the claim.

The reason behind most of the withdrawals is unclear.

Only three claims were withdrawn because they were deemed too complex, while 12 left the portal because the defendant did not admit liability or claimed there was contributory negligence. Fifty-six claims were rejected or withdrawn as duplicates and 182 (43%) left for “other” reasons.

Associate at law firm Browne Jacobson James Arrowsmith said: “We need to reserve judgment on the process until the new rules have bedded in and the management information is more mature.”

“We can reasonably expect that over time practitioners will develop a better understanding of claims suitable for the portal, meaning less frequent use of the exit.”