Solicitors and insurers must hand over data that exposes abuses of the road traffic accident claims portal to the Ministry of Justice, a key official said last week.
Kevin Westall, head of civil justice policy, procedure and customer intelligence at the MoJ, told the Motor Accident Solicitors Society annual conference that the government is prepared to ‘revisit’ the question of whether to use the electronic portal if serious abuses are occurring.
Tim Wallis, chair of the new RTA Portal Company, which now oversees the operation of the portal, said that there are ‘bad behaviours emerging on both sides’, and that the portal company intends to publish a list of these.
Janet Tilley, former MASS chair, said that the association is currently gathering information from its members. She said unverified data indicates that just 7% of claims have been fully settled. Some 30% of claims are exiting the system at the first stage of the process, she added, and of these, 62% exit because of a lack of response from insurers, rather than a dispute over liability.
The RTA personal injury claims process, intended to speed up and reduce the cost of claims valued between £1,000 and £10,000, was introduced at the behest of the MoJ in April. The portal was set up to handle an estimated 500,000 claims a year.
Westall said: ‘I need data, I need volumes, and I need to see if there’s anything going wrong. We have repeatedly asked the insurance and claimant industry for data. It’s in your interests that there’s a stream of data coming through to the ministry.
‘If you identify problems and abuses from either side, we are prepared to take action. Ministers want this to work. If it doesn’t, then we’ll have thousands of cases coming through the courts, and we won’t have met our objectives.’
Wallis echoed an earlier warning by John Spencer, then MASS chair, that the portal must be working fully before the government follows Lord Young’s recommendation to extend the RTA claims process to other areas of personal injury.