Deeper insights post Exclusive Motor Claims Conference

Carpenters Group Director Donna Scully is hopeful that Ministry of Justice plans to roll out mediation could help accelerate claims made through OIC reaching settlement, but is not confident it will happen.

In post-event responses to Sildo questions posed during ILC’s Exclusive Motor Claims Conference, she said that the MoJ had been wrong about anticipated outcomes surrounding the OIC in the past, so it was right to be cautious.

The Exclusive Motor Claims Conference was held at Landing Forty-Two, London, supported by ILC’s Motor Corporate Partners: Activate Group, AkzoNobel, Autoglass, CAPS, Carpenters Group, Copart, DAC Beachcroft, e2e, Entegral, Enterprise, Gemini ARC, GT Motive, Innovation Group, Kennedys, S&G Response, Solera Audatex, Synetiq and Thingco, and sponsored by headline partner Enterprise along with sponsors BHR Assist, Clearspeed, EDAM Group, LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Wiser Academy.

Here, we have collated Donna’s responses to a series of questions posed on the day.

What is your view on the Claims Damages Portal? Is it working properly?

As we have seen with the OIC Portal, the implementation has been flawed, premature and the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Direction have caused difficulties in making the process compulsory for parties whilst it remains under development.

A further concern is there is now increased function for the Portal to be used by Litigants in Person. Again, as we have seen with the OIC Portal there remains concerns as its usability for lay people. Failure to be able to use the Portal correctly can result in judgments/strike outs from which parties may have little recourse.

When do we think we can expect to see solicitors start to push their OIC claims through?

This will happen as claimant law firms get their tech working. Lawyers cannot afford to sit on claims, and instead will push claims through as quickly as their tech will allow.

We all know of the issues claimant professional users have faced integrating with the OIC Portal and a major result of those challenges has been a backlog of claims building up, but integration alone is not the only factor. The rules around OIC claims are more complicated and the process is far less streamlined than the Claims Portal, where we never witnessed such backlogs.

What I would encourage is seeing what’s wrong with OIC fixed, to make the process and litigation, when required, more straightforward. Let’s do what the Justice Select Committee have recommended, and fast, to provide customers an improved service.

However, the data is showing that claims are now starting to settle on represented claims and over the last six months settlements as a measure against submitted claims have risen from 22.62% to 27.14%. That momentum does need to continue.

What’s your view on the consultation on compulsory mediation for litigated claims?

The MoJ anticipates that 5,000 sitting days a year will be freed up by rolling out mediation and if delivered, this would be applauded. However, I will reserve judgment on that target given the MoJ advised that over 30% of OIC claims would be managed by Litigants in Person when the true figure is closer to three per cent.

I do have a concern that there appears to be a blanket approach to mandating mediation, especially for represented claimants. Not all claims will be suitable and I foresee this elongating lifecycles.

However, to deliver against this there needs to be recruitment and training of new mediators, together with technology improvements, which all come at a cost. It is not clear how the mediation service will be funded or cater for the volume… when the court services does not. 

Before implementation, full impact assessments, genuine consultations and full user testing must be carried out. That was not done on the Damage Claims Portal or OIC and customers are paying the price now. I therefore implore the MoJ to engage with their end users here if we are to learn from previous mistakes.


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