IE caught up with Chris Chatterton Chief Commercial Officer at handl Group, to find out the latest trends in rehab, PI claims and more.
IE; What is the general feeling before the new MoJ portal goes live?
CC; The testing has gone on for a while, and it’s good that the portal has been tested rigorously. The feeling is that many people might still find this difficult to navigate and pursue a claim themselves. In the short term that could lead to a fall in low level injury claims, but then there could be a second wave if you like, as people then turn to law firms to represent them and guide them through the process.
There are also concerns about the backlog of PI claims in the system as a result of the pandemic, and how the portal will deal with hybrid claims, where whiplash and another injury is submitted.
The 30-day settlement deadline could also be another factor, it might prompt insurers to settle claims quickly rather than contest them, and that in turn, may bring about more low cost claims in future. Time will tell.
IE; Do you think it could lead to more arbitration and resolution services being accepted generally?
CC; I think so. People have got used to doing many more things online since lockdowns started in March 2020. At handl we have noticed more people willing to use services which really mirror what you would use via the NHS in relation to injury rehab and assessment. That’s the key to it all really, bringing people together in a non-adversarial environment, which a resolution service does far better than Courts.
IE; Is this process going to lead to the creation of new digital tools?
CC; handl is continuously developing new digital tools to streamline all types of processes, you have to. The pandemic created a lot of demand for remote rehab via video link for example. So we rapidly adapted our systems to include that new feature and it’s worked extremely well.
The one thing that everyone in the insurance industry has to get to grips with is that remote rehab may not be cheaper simply because it is being carried out online. There is a popular view that internet-based services should be free, but if you are using the same team of qualified experts to assess a claim and levels of injury and provide advice, then it’s the same process, just the delivery is digital instead of having to visit doctors and medical specialists.
In that regard we have found that lots of claimants like video rehab and that they can triage themselves in their own time. It can be intimidating to sit face-to-face with a medical professional. In some ways it’s easier to take your time, understand the technical jargon at your own pace and then go through triage yourself, on your own terms.
IE; What do think the biggest change has been after the pandemic?
CC; It’s been the realisation that some sort of settlement or resolution has to be reached. Digitisation has encouraged both sides to come together and view claims as a bill that has need to be settled somehow, but not via a lengthy court process. That’s a big sea change.
IE; There is a great deal of consolidation in the broker sector, do you think that the plug and play partnership approach, or acquisitions are best in the long run?
CC; It depends. Your company might have a few gaps where you need to outsource some things to a specialist company. Integrating that into your website and via apps might be the right way to go. But then there is something to be said for acquiring the right specialist companies as well.
Handl is very much a portfolio company and we are constantly looking at trends in the market, how claims are being settled and where we can offer insurer partners expertise that gets results. That’s what it’s all about.
IE; Interesting insights, thanks Chris.