Insurers need to see the wider prospects of the new RTA claims process

It’s almost impossible to open an insurance trade publication or speak to a supplier without the spectre of the MoJ personal injury reforms being the subject of discussion and debate. There is already a plethora of new models and approaches being touted and, given the speed of resolution required together with the complexity of the new process, this comes as no surprise.

It is also fair to say that insurers are spending a massive amount of time and effort to ensure the successful implementation of the new process, which will apply to the personal injury element of RTA claims under £10,000.

With a significant amount of work also being undertaken by the rules committee, and the supporting IT project in full swing, it is easy to think that this is ‘job done’. Insurers need to look beyond RTA claims, however, to see the wider prospects that the successful implementation of the new process will present.

The new process is important, not only in terms of cost savings but in providing a much-improved process for customers and claimants alike. Prompter claims notification and earlier completion of medical reports will help insurers instigate proactive measures sooner, as well as reducing the time it takes to agree compensation. This can reduce overall costs, while ensuring that claimants get faster access to what they need via a clearly defined set of rules. It’s a win-win-win situation between customer, claimant and insurer.

Insurers have to make sure that they buy into the new process by committing to investment in the necessary skills and resource needed to meet the new timelines. Those who choose to respond to tougher timelines by cutting corners could be risking costly omissions and potentially encouraging fraud.

Insurers will also need to find the right balance between technology and expertise. Without doubt, there will be greater emphasis on technology to facilitate faster transmission of information from field to office and back. But we will still be reliant on the technical and decision-making skills of those who interpret the information made available. Therefore, equal spend on training and technology is central to the successful implementation of the new process.

As an industry, we must deliver this new process quickly and efficiently, but not just for the sake of RTA claims. If we can show our stakeholders that we are able to deliver real reform for the benefit of claimants, this will give us a ticket to the game in other areas, such as employment liability and public liability insurance.

Legal costs often outstrip damages by up to 400% in the casualty claims arena, which is a major cause for concern and, frankly, is difficult to justify. After all, what is the difference between motor claims where liability is admitted and an employment liability claim where liability is also admitted? The answer is simple. They are both quantum-only disputes where most heads of claim are identical. There is, therefore, no doubt that the MoJ process for RTA claims is transferable to other claim types where liability is admitted.

With the MoJ reforms drawing closer, the insurance industry needs to get its ducks in a row. If we can do this, we will make a compelling case for extending the process. If we don’t…

Graham Gibson is director of claims at Allianz.