The new MoJ Portal has attracted a mixed reaction across the insurance sector. Here’s some thoughts and insights from Carpenters;
Carpenters has been working hard, in collaboration with the MIB, to overcome the issues that have been encountered across the industry following implementation of the OICP.
There were initial problems with uploading the SCNF (hyphens, apostrophes and the number “5”). More worryingly, we are seeing new reasons emerge for the rejection of the SCNF, and additional problems being revealed as claims move through the process. There are difficulties for example in identifying the correct insurer, and in uploading medical reports.
The issues that have arisen are not the fault of the MIB, which was presented with a difficult task. Developing a system that allows individuals to run potentially complex injury claims was always a tall order, and the level of issues being experienced is entirely unsurprising.
Impact on Claims
Carpenters has, with a huge amount of effort, been successful in negotiating the initial difficulties and has submitted roughly one-third of total claims. This has been achieved through the quality of our technology, which is built and delivered in-house. Our long-term investment in IT has enabled us to withstand the time and financial pressures of the OICP.
Some claimant representatives have been able to upload few (if any) claims over the first few months of operation – despite highly publicised tech. The claims of affected policyholders have not been advanced, with a potential impact on non-fault income to their insurer. On the other side, the at-fault insurer does not know that it faces a claim, and becomes suspicious that claims are being “incubated”.
We are concerned that delay in claim progression will have a big impact on customer journey, and risks an avalanche of claims down the road. At same time we are very sympathetic to MIB and appreciate them working with us to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
The number of individuals using the Portal to run their own claim is much lower than expected. That percentage will reduce further when all of the main claimant law firms start running at full capacity. It is clear that consumers need support with the portal. If large law firms with teams of legal and IT experts have difficulty running claims, then many consumers will struggle. Certainly, we have been instructed by customers who have found the OICP too difficult, and given up.
Even at this early stage we are starting see behaviour that is inconsistent with the industry working together to resolve claims. Insurers are using SCNF data to contact represented claimants direct, in order to by-pass the lawyer, and new tactics are being adopted to increase the cost to the claimant and deter the claim.
Tactics to avoid claims or the involvement of lawyers will make true collaboration very difficult. Methods will be devised to counter these tactics, and ultimately the goal of reducing premiums will be lost in the melee. We look forward to the release of Portal data to help identify poor behaviour (on both sides) and – where appropriate – to firm action from the Behaviour Committee.
Our concern is that issues will continue to arise as claims move through the various stages. The industry must work together to identify and resolve issues as they are identified. “Gaming” of the system – on both sides – must be avoided as ultimately that will increase costs. Unless a collaborative approach is adopted insurers will be unable to deliver the promised premium savings – and demonstrate that they have done so.
Any new system will have teething troubles, and the MIB have done well in difficult circumstances, but it is crucial that industry works together to ensure that the promised premium savings are delivered.