Axa boss rounds up discussion on the MoJ reforms

The new Ministry of Justice process for motor injury claims worth between £1,000 and £10,000 will be fully introduced from April 2010, and a pilot of Stage 1 of the process will launch in January 2010.

There is a lot of talk about how challenging the 15 day timescales in the process will be for insurers. Any change is potentially challenging but the fundamentals of good injury claims handling are all that is required:

  • rapid assessment of whether the customer is legally liable for the road accident at Stage 1. If there is doubt, liability should not be admitted
  • rapid assessment of the settlement figure received at Stage 2. If the figure cannot be agreed, effective calculation of an alternative offer and good use of the 20 day negotiation period is called for.

In addition claims managers must ensure their staff have the skills to communicate effectively with customers and brokers alike about those decisions. Getting these components right should be within the capability of an effective motor injury claims department. What is more, getting them right will mean the cost efficient working of the claims function.

There is an equivalent requirement on claimant representatives to operate the scheme effectively and to the spirit of its design. I hope we do not see behaviours aimed at driving as many cases as possible into Stage 3, simply to maximise the costs return. Insurers must be ready with their response should such activities emerge.

Whilst 2010 will be yet another challenging year for motor claims I’m confident that the industry can show Government that we are responsive to reform and eager to see more improvements in the compensation process for the benefit of our customers.

Matthew Scott is head of liability claims & professional services, AXA Insurance.