The Motor Insurers Bureau is launching a new portal aimed at briging together whiplash claims in one database, that is useful for everyone involved in the car insurance, accident management and legal sectors. Called Official Injury Claim, claimant representative and compensator organisations can register between now and the launch of the service on 6 April online at www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk.
The MIB is delivering the whiplash portal on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, following Civil Liability Act reforms. One of the most conroversial features of the reforms is that all claims under 5K will have to be made online, via the portal. No paper claims will be accepted.
There are still millions of people in the UK without internet access, or in possession of modern online skills, and this disadvantge will produce a major obstacle for many claimants. It remains to be seen how the insurance industry helps vulnerable customers who struggle with the complexities of online claims admin, or deciphering legalese and jargon in general. The industry needs to tread carefully this year with the new whiplash claims system because the potential for negative PR, and further regulation, is definitely there.
Commenting on the whiplash portal recently, James Heath, from the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, told the media:
“If we are going to launch in April, then the time has come for clarity and indeed visibility over the final process, rules and portal service. Without this, neither claimant representatives or Compensators can make the key decisions required to make operational changes necessary for the new regime.”
“Without this, there is understandable concern at whether those changes can now be made in time for an effective April launch. There is no more time for uncertainty.”
Dominic Clayden, chief executive officer of the MIB, said of Official Injury Claim: “Today’s launch is a significant milestone for the successful delivery of the new service to support the whiplash reforms set by the Ministry of Justice.”
“By opening up the registration window today we are able to give organisations the chance to choose a registration time that best suits them in the coming weeks.”
He continued: “The website you can see today will be updated at launch to put consumers centre stage—and support and guide them simply and quickly through the new process. This is a service built with consumers at its heart and shaped with their input. The second round of testing amongst consumers is currently underway and we will publish high level results in the coming weeks.”