Donna Scully, director at Carpenters Group, emphasises that more data around bad behaviour on the Official Injury Claim portal must be released
It’s ironic that the whiplash reform, effective from May 2021, originally started life as a process to reduce fraudulent claims, thereby reducing the cost of claims and allowing insurers to pass on savings to motor customers via reduced premiums.
However, fast forward to the implementation of the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal in May 2021 and no fraud checks were actually included - not even the ones that existed on the older Ministry of Justice portal, including AskCUE PI. No reason was given for this.
It’s important that the same fraud checks are available on both the OIC and the Ministry of Justice portals because these so-called “frictionless” processes would undoubtedly make fraudulent behaviour harder to detect.
In particular, identity checks should be completed so that insurance firms can tell if a litigant in person is being supported by a claims management company rather than acting alone.
The introduction of these types of fraud checks did not come to pass.
Now - nearly two years on - the Fraud Charter collective, the General Insurance Fraud Committee and many others in the anti-fraud arena are urging the Ministry of Justice and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) to have a rethink and retrospectively introduce some fraud checks.
These groups are recommending that the enormous amount of data available from the OIC portal is used to spot fraudulent or suspicious behaviour quickly, name the perpetrators and implement punishments quickly.
Gaming on the OIC portal is already in evidence, with claims being exaggerated to – we believe – increase damages and compensation amounts.
We have also heard how some physiotherapists are producing prognosis which is double that suggested by other Medico legal experts. We don’t use physiotherapists at Carpenters Group and we believe only GPs should do Medico legal reports.
During an ABI conference in March 2023, the MIB’s chief services officer James Dalton and Ursula Jarrow, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, urged the MIB to release more data from the OIC portal - particularly around bad behaviour.
I too want to see more data released and to see bad behaviour, gaming and fraud named and shamed as soon as possible.
This approach would send a very strong message that this behaviour will not be tolerated and that the industry has the information to spot fraud threats and call it out.