’Covid-19 has released the virtual claims management genie from the bottle and there will be no going back’, says the law firm’s claims director

The insurance industry has a responsibility to explore and deliver the digitisation of the claims process following the success of remote medical assessments for motor-related personal injury claims, which has been used during the Covid-19 lockdown, said personal injury solicitors Minster Law.

Remote medical assessments were given the green light back in April thanks to a joint statement of intent between membership group the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) and the ABI – this agreed measures for remote medical examinations and rehabilitation in order to progress claims despite the nationwide lockdown, imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

Minster Law said this step not only kept the “wheels of justice turning during the crisis, but it has also laid the foundations for a transformational change in personal injury claims processing”.

The move towards a more digital claims journey also has consumer support. Minster Law quizzed 136 customers via an online survey and found that 82% of respondents attending a remote appointment for the first time were satisfied or very satisfied with the consultation. Furthermore, 79% were satisfied or very satisfied with the advice they were given and 89% added that the appointment was easy or very easy.

For those who have already attended a medical assessment previously, these figures are 78%, 75% and 88% respectively.

Marcus Taylor, claims director at Minster Law, said: “If customers are telling us that they like using technology for remote medical assessments, our industry has a responsibility to respond, and look to digitise this and other parts of the claims journey. Nothing should be off the table.

“Not only is this proving much more convenient for customers, but it is also reducing the number of missed appointments and saves the customer time and money as they no longer need to arrange travel to a GP.”

Taylor added that wider aspects of the claims journey also lend themselves to a more digital approach, such as claims registration, rehabilitation, medical appointment booking, claims evaluation, ADR and settlement.

Virtual claims management

For Taylor, virtual claims management is a necessity.

He said: “If providers want to return to pre-Covid face-to-face processes, injured people will vote with their feet and that will only build in unnecessary delays and costs into the claims process.

“We’ve predicted increasing demand for digitised claims management for some time. Our own end-to-end digital portal for personal injury claims is already up and running and receiving great feedback in terms of customer satisfaction, ease and effort.

“The industry must become more attuned to customers and deliver services that injured people actually want, rather than adopt a ‘computer says no’ attitude to changing customer demand.

“Covid-19 has released the ’virtual claims management’ genie from the bottle and there will be no going back.”

The main barrier to virtual treatments becoming more mainstream, however, is the threat of increased fraud.

Taylor continued: “We understand the concerns about fraud too, but up to now it’s hard to really measure how serious a risk it is.

“Given the increased volume of data and insight we now have around remote assessments, we would welcome and support an evidence-based review to accurately determine whether increased fraud is in fact a genuine risk or not.”