Insurer joins medico-legal agencies to limit costs of medical reporting

Norwich Union (NU) is piloting a scheme to fix the cost of medical reports for minor road traffic accident claims.

The NU pilot, with medico-legal agencies Doctors Chambers, Mobile Doctors, Micrah Services and Expedia, began a month ago and will run for six months.

An NU spokeswoman confirmed that the insurer was conducting the pilot to test whether fixed fees for medical reports work.

Sources said it applies only to GP reports for cases in which the claims are worth less than £10,000 and for which the insurer has accepted liability.

Zurich and Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance (RBSI) are understood to be considering similar schemes.

A Zurich spokeswoman confirmed that the company is in talks with Mobile Doctors regarding fixed fees for medical reports, but said that an agreement had not yet been reached.

Sources said that if agreed, the Zurich pilot will commence in July. Rather than road traffic accidents, the Zurich scheme will pilot fixed fees for medical reports in employers' liability and public liability claims. It will test fixed fees for both GP and specialist reports in cases where liability is agreed.

A spokeswoman for RBSI confirmed that it has had discussions with the Association of Medical Reporting Organisations (AMRO), a company which represents several medico-legal firms regarding fixed fees. Sources said RSBI was interested in implementing a scheme for road traffic accident claims with a value of less than £10,000.

A medico-legal source said that with agreements in place to fix solicitors fees for low value claims, the next natural progression was for insurers to look at other areas to implement predictable costs, such as medical reports.