’It is completely unacceptable that consumers should have to wait so long for an effective system’, she adds

Carpenters Group director Donna Scully has told Insurance Times that the latest Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal data – released last week (11 July 2022) – “puts an end to arguments about whether the OIC portal is working.

“The stats show that it is not.”

Between April and June this year, 16,944 claims settlements were confirmed – this amounts to nearly half of the 35,548 total settlements agreed since the portal’s launch. A further 4,271 settlement offers remain open.

However, 14,365 (85%) of the settled claimants from the latest reporting period were represented claimants.

Scully added: “Only 12.3 of claims have settled and that reduces to 10.4% where the claim is represented. Of all live claims, 0.15% exited the process to court in the last quarter.

“The figures confirm that it is very difficult to progress claims through to settlement and the tiny number of litigated claims must of concern to the Court Service.

“No-one wants to see a big increase in litigated claims as the process starts to unblock, but that is starting to look inevitable.”

While there had been improvement, Scully noted that these improvements were “glacially slow and from a low starting point”.

She said: “We are now looking at timescales for fixes running into next year. It is completely unacceptable that consumers should have to wait so long for an effective system and delay in resolving problems will serve only to further increase the number of cases stuck in the process.”

Reform success?

There was “no doubt” that the whiplash reforms – which were proposed in November 2018 and implemented via the OIC portal in May 2021 – had been a success in terms of reducing legal damages for whiplash claims, Scully said.

However, Scully added: “There can also be no doubt that the reforms have not been a success for motor customers.

“They face long delays as a result of the new portal and many will be forced to under-settle as a result, especially in light of the very real cost of living crisis we have.

“A realistic assessment of the extent of the problems – and cross-industry co-operation to resolve the issues – are long overdue.

“We owe it to our customers and to the industry to fix this as soon as possible and not bury our heads in the sand while cases back up in their thousands. We are better than that.”