Joint expert on injury claim to be appointed by independent agency

AXA is set to launch a major pilot programme for the early agreement of joint experts in non-motor liability claims.

It has also agreed a series of working practices with claimant solicitors on the resolution of claims.

Under the pilot scheme, AXA will instruct an independent agency to appoint a medical expert at an early stage in the claims process. This will be done irrespective of liability.

The agency will push for the expert to be appointed as joint expert with the claimant.

David Williams, AXA's new claims director appointed after internal restructuring, said: "This will give us a much clearer understanding of the injuries at an earlier stage. We will know if rehabilitation can be used, and it will also prevent claimants' delaying tactics."

The scheme will initially operate from AXA's Haverhill office, which deals with a third of the insurer's liability claims.

On the issue of solicitors' working practices, Williams said: "A big problem for solicitors is getting their fees paid. We have said that if we can get early resolution of claims we will look at service standards for payment of fees.

"We have reached an informal agreement with two large firms and are in discussions with other solicitors and trade bodies."

  • AXA is to focus on customer service as part of its 2004-2006 claims plan.
  • Williams said that the insurer would be looking to automate elements of the claims process to "deliver better customer service and control leakage".

    This would involve cognitive interviewing to identify the next steps in the claims process and remove irrelevant questions.

    He added that it would also see customers being able to access claims status information.