The body that operates the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal is to investigate why unrepresented litigants are not using the service.
The first two quarters of data from the OIC, which started on 31 May last year, have shown that fewer than 10% of claims have been brought by litigants in person.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) never publicly said what proportion of users it expected to go it alone, but Legal Futures has been told it privately expected at least 30%.
The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), which runs the portal, told last month’s meeting of the OIC advisory group that it was commissioning research “to gain a deeper understanding of the unrepresented claimant experience”.
This will focus on reasons for exiting the service and “will be used to gain insight into how the user journey might be improved”.
The newly published minutes of the advisory group’s meeting said the discussion highlighted the importance of capturing how the claimant found their way to the service, “to enable a better understanding of its visibility and whether/how this can be improved”.
The lack of awareness-raising activity has been a concern about the OIC from the start, and members noted that, on Google, several results are returned before the OIC. The MoJ, the minutes recorded, “will consider how this may be improved/mitigated”.
It outlined how this research “will inform future work and feedback mechanisms introduced throughout users’ journey through the service”.
The group also discussed whether there needed to be further measures to aid the verification of genuine claimants on the service, such as capturing IP addresses and driving licences.
Officials from the MoJ and MIB said they would consider this “but reminded members that OIC is not designed to be a counter-fraud system”.
Compliance with data protection laws and the danger of making the service less usable also had to be borne in mind.
In separate news, MedCo has significantly reduced the cost for medical reporting organisations (MROs) to be on the system following its move last year from using the MIB’s services and instead employing its own staff and making its own arrangements for back-office services.
From April 2022, the annual renewal fee for the larger, tier 1 MROs will fall from £150,000 to £97,000 and for tier 2 MROs from £20,000 to £13,000. The old figures remain the same for new registrations.
Martin Heskins, MedCo’s executive chair, said: “The recent changes to MedCo’s operations and support services have resulted in a significant reduction in annual operating costs.
“The board of directors are therefore pleased to be able to reflect those savings by reducing annual fees for MROs with effect from April.”