New and collaborative approaches to personal injury claims are set to become a feature for months to come, according to an industry expert.
Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations, said the changes already forced by the coronavirus pandemic may have to remain for some time.
He spoke as the organisation announced that 40 law firms, medical reporting agencies and rehabilitation providers – as well as a number of major injurers – have now signed up to a jointly statement of intent drawn up with the Association of British Insurers.
The revised approach, based on greater cooperation between claimant and defendant sectors, was conceived at the end of April and extended last month. Maxwell Scott said claimant firms remain fully committed to the statement of intent and urged insurers to stick with it.
He added: ‘We have to prepare for a long haul, when it comes to settling injury claims, because a return to anything resembling business as usual seems a fairly distant prospect. We share the same customers, so we urge all parties to make use of the temporary measures to get cases settled as quickly as possible, to ease the backlog and make sure consumers don’t have to carry the after effects of their injuries any longer than necessary.’
The statement of intent includes an agreement to accept remote medical examination and rehabilitation, extending the negotiation period and considering joint settlement meetings to arbitrate agreements.
These were intended as temporary measures to resolve disputed claims and reduce pressure on the courts as fears grew that any backlog would deprive injured people from treatment while their claim was in dispute.
Maxwell Scott said the ‘vast majority’ of insurers have been supportive of the principles of the statement of intent, including Admiral, Allianz, Aviva, DLG, Hastings, NFU Mutual and RSA.