Amanda McCarthy, Technical Claims Manager, Allianz Insurance plc, explains the Ministry of Justice’s Whiplash Reforms and what actions brokers need to do going forward.
“Whiplash reforms”, which form part of the Civil Liability Act 2018, are a package of measures designed to reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists and tackle the continuing high number of whiplash claims. As part of the reforms the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has commissioned the Motor Insurers‘ Bureau (MIB) to develop a new online portal for managing low value road traffic accident (RTA) claims. The intention is that the new portal will be suitable for individuals to manage their own claims rather than rely on legal representatives.
If a compensator intends to deny liability (either fully or partially), the new rules require this to be done within 30 working days of receiving a Small Claim Notification Form. A denial should be corroborated by the defendant’s version of events, and must include a signed Statement of Truth. This differs from the current timeline whereby a statement of truth must be submitted within three months of receipt. This shorter deadline means that we’ll rely on your cooperation to provide swift access to drivers and their passengers.
A statement of truth is a legal agreement by the signatory that they believe their version of events to be true. Any knowingly false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth could result in contempt of court proceedings.
If a claimant does not accept our position on liability, the new rules entitle them to start legal proceedings for a decision by the court. Drivers (and witnesses) are required to attend in person and provide their version of events. We need your support to ensure that your driver attends the hearing in these circumstances.
In the event that we receive notification of a claim that should be redirected, we’ll still have 30 working days to provide evidence for the need to redirect; otherwise we’ll only have the option to dispute liability with the portal or accept the claim in full. To help us manage this towards the best possible outcome, we’ll need evidence that insurance cover is held elsewhere at the earliest possible opportunity.
If we’re unable to provide evidence for the need to redirect, but it’s clear that the claim should be redirected, we’ll need a signed Statement of Truth from our customer to that effect in order to submit the formal dispute of liability. This Statement will be collected by one of our Claims Investigators, so we’ll need contact details for our customer as soon as possible following notification of the incident.
The OIC portal will use the entries on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to automatically route claims to compensators. There is currently no functionality within the new system to enable compensators to reject claims to alternative insurers if they’ve received a claim in error.
We’re working on a solution for managing this scenario and we’re actively lobbying the MIB to add this functionality to the OIC portal. In the meantime, one of the most effective ways of avoiding mis-directed claims is to ensure that policyholders and their brokers regularly update MID to ensure that entries are correct so that claims aren’t made against the wrong policy.