Commenting on the latest data produced by the OIC, Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO), said:
“The latest data continue to highlight the need for our industry to be brought in and help improve the operation of the OIC via a change control group. The portal may be meeting ministerial policy objectives by bringing down the number of whiplash claims, but in the context of improving access to justice the OIC is not doing its job.
"Of particular concern is that while there has been a welcome increase in the number of cases settling, there are lengthening delays to settlement times, up from 139 days in the previous quarter to 175 between April and June.
"While more complex claims explain some of that increase, 36% of claimants waiting for more than six months to have their claim settled is no advertisement for what we were promised would be a state-of-the art-digital journey, built around the needs of the consumer.
"ACSO urges minsters to consider putting settlement targets in place so that injured people know what to expect. There are already serious delays to civil cases in the courts, so it is hard to take issue with our view that this government is failing our citizens when they need access to justice.
“The government is no further forward to coming up with a solution to mixed, or hybrid cases. That is a key factor driving lengthening delays in settlement, and we are keen to see this issue gripped and the required test cases appear in front of the judiciary.
"It is also welcome that there has been a further small reduction in the incidence of alleged fraud to 11% (13%) among represented claimants, and 8% (10%) among unrepresented. A number of commentators have said the OIC risks becoming a ‘fraudsters’ charter,' but the evidence at present does not seem to bear that out. However, fraud is an issue to keep an eye on, especially if the cost-of-living crisis continues.”
Key facts from the latest OIC report:
- OIC claims volumes for Apr-June 2022 at 70,718 claims compares with CRU data of 101,679 in the equivalent period during 2021. The data confirms that claims volumes remain well down on previous trends, despite vehicle use being back up to near normal levels.
- Represented claimants continue to dominate the OIC; 8.6% are litigants in person, further underlining the need for the MoJ to do much more to build consumer awareness and make the process easier.
- The average time to settle is up from 139 to 175 days, and 36% of those claims are taking over six months
- Only 30% of claims are whiplash (i.e. tariff) only (no change since the last set of data): clarity is still urgently needed on how to value mixed claims
- 36% (30% previously) of claimants exiting the portal cite ‘complexity’ as the reason. The OIC is not getting easier for people to use.
A link to the report is here: https://www.