For the past 18 months, since Lord Falconer addressed Insurance Times' first personal injury conference, government, lobby groups, claims management companies, lawyers, insurers and brokers have worked together to try to address the so-called compensation culture.
Last year Sir David Arculus, author of the Better Routes to Redress report, stated at this conference that though the compensation culture was statistically a myth, the perception of a growing US-style blame culture was being perpetuated by poor legal judgments and inflated compensation payments.
We also heard from Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, the DWP minister, that the government was trying to achieve a cross-party consensus on how to tackle the problem and promote affirmative action such as rehabilitation and called on the industry to get involved.
This conference is dedicated to the culmination of that work - the Compensation Bill. As it passes through Parliament, and was expected to be finalised this week, some in our industry have objected to the way in which the Bill has been drafted and now re-drafted to include asbestos claims.
What was clear from the outset of the debate is that the personal injury process needed reform and this Bill brings statutory enforcement and a proper framework for regulation. A new claims regulator will soon be announced who will be given the task of administering serious threats against the potential Claims Direct and TAG-like firms. Hopefully high-profile cases like those firms will never happen again.
How will the industry goes forward with this new claims environment? Is a disease pool, similar to the Pool Re model for terrorism claims, be the answer to long-tail asbestos-related claims?
The new regulatory landscape, the claims regulator and the medical profession's view on rehab initiatives are also key areas of discussion. And new claims resolution processes being offered, such as Claimsense and InterResolve, are looking to develop a quick and efficient service.