Continued whiplash portal problems “a real cause for concern”


Brown: OIC IT user group needed

Operational and structural difficulties facing the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal are a “cause for real concern” and having a serious impact on access to justice, it has been claimed.

Sue Brown, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), said: “We were promised a seamless and efficient system, but have so far only seen an incomplete and largely untested system.

“The delays being caused to injured accident victims receiving fair compensation is having a serious impact on access to justice.”

Given the “reputational and contractual issues at stake”, Ms Brown said many law firms were reluctant to admit publicly that they were experiencing significant problems, resorting instead to manually submitting and managing claims.

“This is expensive, time consuming and hugely inefficient for a system which was billed as frictionless and straightforward.”

The OIC has been going since 31 May 2021 and the data from the first two quarters of its operation have already indicated clear trends – most notably that fewer than 10% of users are litigants in person.

Reflecting on the first eight months for the MASS magazine, Ms Brown said that while early glitches were understandable, “the continuing problems faced by professional users – who are handling over 90% of the claims going through OIC – are unacceptable”.

She continued: “The process is continuing to be ‘live tested’ months after launch with further problems regularly being identified as claims progress through the portal to new and previously untested stages.

“The frequency of updates and bug-fixes is slowly improving with more scheduled updates, but new issues continue to be discovered.”

Lawyers and insurers were both still experiencing major problems with the A2A interfacing, Ms Brown said.

“In-house IT developers are having to devote considerable resources to make their systems work.

“Claimant lawyers and insurers alike have worked hard over the past decade, with significant investment, to develop systems that work smoothly with claims that are processed through the claims portal, and they simply want to be able to do the same in the OIC.”

Given how costs have been slashed in the portal, it was “vital” that the system operated efficiently.

The low number of litigants in person – and indeed the “significant” fall in the number of claims being brought – was another measure by which the OIC must be judged.

“Taken together, both these operational and structural issues are cause for real concern,” Ms Brown said.

We reported in January that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which runs the OIC on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, is investigating why so few claimants are choosing to represent themselves.

Ms Brown said MASS has called on the MoJ to set up an OIC IT user group, an idea that has garnered favour with insurers.

“Resolving these issues as a matter of urgency will require significant commitment and resources, but it needs to be done,” she concluded.

“We were promised a gold-standard process, but at the moment we are no-where near the medal rostrum. For the sake of everyone – motor accident victims and professional users alike – this has to change soon.”




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


Why lawyers should be thinking about sustainable development

The UN Sustainable Development Goals have been permeating all aspects of the legal profession – from their impact on everyday clients, to their relevance for big businesses.


Fundamental business habits that modern law firms need to succeed

Regardless of your goals, running a successful law firm involves mastering the basics and adopting habits that help you remain competitive.


Estate administration: the digital assets dilemma

The rapid increase in the range and prevalence of digital assets is creating an ever-widening gap between the technologies and the lumbering legal systems trying to keep up.


Loading animation