ACSO executive director says that it was always intended to be temporary - many of the practices have now become ‘business as usual,’ however 

The package of temporary measures put forward during the Covid-19 pandemic by two trade associations to resolve personal injury claims disputes has today (13 August 2021) expired.

Following a joint review in the week commencing 9 August, the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreed that its Statement of Intent would conclude on 13 August.

Both bodies concurred that the contents of their Statement of Intent, which was initially published in April 2020, is now commonplace or no longer necessary for tackling claims disputes amid the pandemic environment given the current coronavirus infection rate, vaccine programme, changes to working patterns and the impact of the government’s Civil Liability Act reforms.

Matthew Maxwell Scott, ACSO’s executive director, said: “The ABI [and] ACSO Statement of Intent was always intended to be temporary, but it’s welcome that many of its very sensible and consumer-friendly measures have now become part of business as usual.

“That the agreement lasted so long is a result not just of the length of the pandemic, but also the spirit of partnership we fostered in a sector not always known for close cooperation.

“We look forward to working together more with our insurer colleagues on shared consumer issues, such as encouraging alternative dispute resolution, tackling fraud and working to make sure that regulation is proportionate and fair.”

Embedded practices

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, added: “Even though the Statement of Intent is being concluded, we are pleased that many of the measures put in place have become embedded practices which will benefit consumers.”

For example, remote medical examinations remain the norm for claimants, while remote rehabilitation continues to be accepted by most compensators on a case-by-case basis.

Payments are now routinely being paid by BACS, not by cheque - as was often the situation previously.

The other measures included within the Statement of Intent, which aimed to give claimant firms and compensators more time and flexibility during the claims process as they tackled the impact of the pandemic, are now seen as superfluous as conditions in the UK improve.

Dalton added: “During these unprecedented times, it was more imperative than ever that insurers and claimant firms collaborated to ensure that consumers could continue to resolve their claims.

“It has demonstrated that positive engagement between insurers and claimant firms can be beneficial to everyone and we hope that it will lay the foundations for future collaboration.”