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Scott Bowers: On your marks, get set…

Why the race is on for insurers to get Small Claims Portal Ready.

Scott Bowers, Founder & Business Development Director.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said that whiplash claims reforms scheduled to come into force this year are still on track, with the launch of the Motor Insurer’s Bureau’s Small Claims Portal expected in April 2020.

However, due to the lack of visibility of what the portal will look like and the legal guidelines that will surround it, there is still some debate between industry professionals as to how realistic this launch date is.

What we do know is that once the portal launches, there will be a clamouring of interested parties such as legal professionals, insurers and credit hire providers to get to claims quickly and establish the quickest route to resolution for the claimant.

The benefits of this are clear – for insurers, especially those representing the at-fault party, quick resolution and control of costs will be essential to minimise liability and prevent costs from escalating.

But we also know that the reforms are likely to encourage self-litigation in whiplash cases. Despite the intention to clarify the rules around what constitutes a legitimate whiplash claim, there is, of course, the possibility that a lack of formal court proceedings or professional legal advice could open insurers up to ‘have-a-go’ fraudsters in what is already a risk heavy industry.

For those businesses that are ready, the Small Claims Portal opens insurers of at-fault parties up to the opportunity to maintain control of whiplash claims costs by bringing no-fault parties into their own supply chain. But the question remains: How can insurers balance speed of settlement with maintaining security in a field where fraud can be rife?

Data integrity will be essential in these cases. Insurers must invest in technology that will enable them to source and process evidential data quickly and securely. Video and other media evidence has the potential to dramatically speed up the process and reduce time between first notification of loss and resolution. Insurers that can do this without increasing risk stand to benefit from the significant opportunities afforded by the Small Claims Portal.

eviid technology has the potential to transform claims and meet this agile, responsive demand – while protecting the process from fraudulent media submissions. The technology makes secure, verified video transfer fast and easy-to-use for both claims teams and claimants, and can enable teams to react quickly to resolve claims. This is particularly valuable in the case of smaller RTAs where dashcam footage and CCTV is often readily available, but typically hard to acquire without significant effort from claimants and third parties.

Whenever the Small Claims Forum opens for business, we know that there will be a race between businesses at every stage of the claims lifecycle to get to the claimant first.  How prepared individual businesses are to respond to that opportunity can be the difference between those businesses making the most of the opportunity and those that fall behind.

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