I would like to applaud the research revealed by the ABI last month. The research concluded that removing lawyers from the motor claims process does not reduce claimants' settlements, and yet significantly reduces the time it takes to settle a claim.
Link and Zenith has long believed that lawyers can be a hindrance to good claims management and the claimant's claims experience in smaller straight forward claims, and so it is encouraging to see this view supported.
While the findings show that lawyers hinder the process, we believe that insurers play a vital role in ensuring that claimants are treated fairly and get the best and most appropriate level of rehabilitation and settlement, while at the same time working towards a better approach to claims management.
While lawyers no doubt intend to represent their clients' best interests by keeping the two parties apart, this often has the opposite effect, resulting in miscommunication, drawn out settlement periods, dissatisfied customers and high claims costs for the insurers.
By removing lawyers from the equation, insurers can put the claimant firmly at the heart of the claims process. Having direct contact with a claimant, an insurer can quickly assess their needs, and offer appropriate help and advice to get them back behind the wheel as soon as possible. This approach surely benefits all parties.
Claims costs and leakage continue to be a huge challenge for motor insurers, and the problem is exacerbated by lawyers pushing for levels of inappropriate compensation or expenses that aren't necessary to meet the needs of the claimant.
Improved communication with claimants should not be underestimated. It will result in better claims and actuarial planning for a more efficient business model in a challenging market.
It will also result in an improved and positive image for an insurance industry that's in the business of paying legitimate claims promptly and treating customers fairly.

Trevor Webb
Claims director
Link and Zenith