Whiplash Reforms – Delivering a Solution at Pace

The Ministry of Justice has introduced changes to reform the way low-value personal injury claims arising from Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) are managed. These changes are intended to “reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by tackling the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims.(1)” 

After months of uncertainty, the publication of the rules surrounding these reforms to the Civil Liability Act will finally provide clarity on the process for future PI claimsThese rules include details of the whiplash tariff amount and the end of settlements with no medical report. The introduction of the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 on 31st May 2021 means legal costs are now not covered, therefore many cases will not allow for legal representation. How can law firms continue to ensure justice is served in claimants cases and ensure there is a commercial future for their firms in this area of civil liability?  

The Personal Injury market fell by 1.5% in 2020 to £3.92bn according to the UK Personal Injury Market Report 2020 by IRN Research. In all likelihood, this is attributable to the coronavirus pandemic and not indicative of a common trend. There are predictions that 2021 will see no change, but there will be growth in two years.  

In order for this growth to happen, processes and ways of working need to be redefined. All Claims Professionals need to register with the Motor Insurance Bureau who are creating the new portal for claims. Case Management Systems need to be refined to interact with the new MIB Claims Portal. Integration can be enabled through an Application Programming Interface, but this can take time. The delay in the publication of the rules means that these projects now need to be delivered at turbo speed.  

Firms need a pragmatic approach to get something delivered within this timeframe. Adopting a Minimum Viable Product approach will enable you to be agile and make rapid changesThe MIP Claims Portal is being developed iteratively, which means you can flex your solution and make changes, whilst continuing to future proof 

As experienced agile practitioners, we often use these practices to deliver MVPs (Minimal Viable Product), whilst also helping to explore sustainable future solutions within the legal sector. Our methodologies allow for projects to be broken down into manageable parts to ensure the benefits are fully realised.  

The reforms need to be embraced and new design solutions investigated to ensure there is growth in the Personal Injury sector as predicted. Legal Futures suggests a need for more collaborative approaches going forward: “New business models would emerge “to streamline the claims process”, reduce costs and share technologies, such as law firms joining forces with insurance companies and claims management companies setting up law firms via alternative business structures.(2) 

Scenario Planning has been hitherto hindered by the lack of clarity over rules, but now agility is essential to be ready for the changes on 31st MayOur team is experienced at bringing rigourpace and quality to complex change initiatives for many of the UK’s top 100 law firms. We accelerate project delivery, enabling leaders to realise business benefits faster and boost firm-wide confidence. Our experienced consultants can be mobilised within a week. To find out how we can help you contact Tiggy Robinson: TiggyR@NineFeetTall.com  

References:

1 House of Lords: Civil Liability Bill [HL] (parliament.uk)

2 https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/big-personal-injury-firms-to-merge-as-market-shrinks

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