1 Whiplash Developments Bob Rabbitts Technical Claims Manager (Motor & Casualty) Allianz Cornhill
2 How much are we spending? As an industry, about 250,000 claims a year at 1.25b (AC about 10,000 at 50M)! ie. 5K each Despite the introduction of predictable costs about 50% of the spend is TP legal costs, which is totally disproportionate to Damages Average across the board: 2300 Damages, 2300 TP costs, 300 own costs, 100 physio More cases are litigating because some TP lawyers want to avoid fixed costs limitations
3 Historically Whiplash can t be proven Claims won t improve with keeping Go ahead and get them settled quickly on the best terms available Did insurers create a rod for their own backs years ago by sending out a message that it s easy to make a whiplash claim?
4 Current issues Fraud.LVC s.mist everyone agrees that some whiplash claims are fraudulent. The tricky bit is to establish which ones, and quickly Disproportionate legal costs spend most claims are very straightforward and insurers have the capability to deal direct with claimants in a fair and professional manner
5 Fraud Allianz Cornhill approach All new claims are subject to a fraud indicator checklist Estimated impact speed Angle of impact Treatment sought Whether off work Able to drive?..many immediate credit hire arrangements! And many more This is our filter to set aside some claims for further investigation and gives a level of consistency
6 Cases set aside Telephone interview with driver as a further filter Is his lay evidence credible? If it appears so. Inspect both vehicles Face to face interview and statement Opportunity to try and establish a profile of the claimant If driver s evidence still seems credible and engineer s reports supportive, the claim will usually then be declined
7 Recent example Insured stationary on main road waiting to turn right into a side road Heavy stationary traffic in opposite direction Gap opened and we turn right but clip O/S/R of TP car Whiplash claim received from TP driver declined Vigorous challenge from TP solicitors who replied within just a few days and surely did not take their client s careful instructions Who is fighting us? Lawyer or Claimant?
8 Declinature rate AC initiative since Jan 30 th 2006 About 7% of claims demonstrate fraud indicators AC to review files end 2006 How many declinatures challenged / unchallenged? How many litigated? Credibility of insurers and their lawyers is vital. We must identify cases carefully. Judges do not want another credit hire or legal costs invasion into their courts
9 Kearsley v Klarfeld A welcome development from the COA No need to plead fraud Claimant must promptly make his damaged vehicle available for inspection (we must ask quickly) Claimant must provide prompt access to his medical notes While this remains good law, COA recommended that a series of test cases be heard to further develop ground rules relating to suspected fraud in whiplash cases WATCH THIS SPACE
10 Impact research PROBLEM. There are so very many permutations of impact behaviours between different makes / models of vehicles at different speeds, and the whiplash effect they may, or may not have, on vehicle occupants Which seat? Bumper heights etc Insurers need help through independent research so that we might better understand the likelihood of whiplash injury occurring
11 Escalating TP costs / Litigation Since the introduction of fixed predictable costs more routine whiplash claims are litigating as some claimant lawyers seek every opportunity to avoid fixed costs If we are 1 day late with an offer on receipt of a medical or if our offer is considered low, some will immediately litigate instead of picking up the phone or writing Costs sanctions are rare Insurers are left frustrated Claimants, used as pawns by some lawyers, are now beginning to realise what s going on. E.G. Claims Direct and TAG publicity Claimant.Lawyer.Insurer
12 Dealing direct with claimants Time is now right, post CD & TAG AC is openly inviting claimants to deal with us direct. We were already phoning immediately to offer help with repairs and transport needs We will: Provide a dedicated handler Phone regularly Arrange physio where needed and pay direct Provide a copy physio / medical report Offer top of the range Remind TP of his right to consult a lawyer at any stage
13 Potential savings At an average of 2250 TP and 300 own costs, 392 direct settlements = 1M saving If our industry has 250,000 whiplash claims pa and say we convert just 10% to direct settlements: 63M saving! Surely we can do better than 10%?
14 Regulation of claims Management Services Services not Claims Management Companies are expected to be regulated It is possible that the process of insurers dealing direct with injured third parties with be considered a service to be regulated Whatever the outcome, insurers should take the initiative to start working now to develop a Code of Conduct and ensure that we treat direct claimants fairly at all times as if they were our own customers
15 Summary Yes, some claims are fraudulent and insurers have a responsibility to flush them out as long as we do so efficiently and accurately We expect claimant lawyers to work with us, not against Yes, there is no good reason why insurers can t deal direct with claimants who have straightforward short term whiplash or other injuries We must be fair and open at all times We must work to a transparent set of rules ON BOTH, WE MUST NOT RISK THE CREDIBILITY OF OUR INDUSTRY
16 Thank you for listening ANY QUESTIONS?