Whiplash Reforms, What do you need to know?

In a recent article from Cold Chain Federation member Marsh CommercialHaulage insurance claims – the common mistakes that could be costing you’, they identified the top 10 most common claims that hauliers face, unsurprisingly ‘Hit TP in Rear’ incidents featured heavily, these incidents more often than not result in ‘whiplash’ claims. 

For any transport managers dealing with incidents generating injury claims, it’s essential to be aware of the recent whiplash reforms, and their operational impact.

What are the whiplash reforms?

 The whiplash reforms (or ‘The Civil Liability Act 2018’ as it’s known), are intended to streamline how low value motor injury claims are managed and reduce claims costs. The key features of the reforms are:1

  • the small claims limit for whiplash will increase from £1,000 to £5,000 in England and Wales, effectively removing the need for a solicitor to be involved
  • applies to incidents on or after 31 May 2021
  • claimants present claims through a central ‘portal’
  • insurers are identified via the MID (Motor Insurance Database)
  • insurers have 30 working days to respond with a liability decision
  • if liability is disputed a signed statement of truth from the driver must be lodged by the insurer onto the portal within 30 working days
  • should a statement of truth not be submitted in time, liability is admitted by default.

What changes do I need to make?

In very simple terms, report accidents to insurers as quickly as possible; the direct correlation between reporting time and increased claims costs has been known for years and is expected to be emphasised further as a result of the whiplash reforms.

Who the claim is reported to is really important; reporting direct to insurers speeds up the claim process. Given the 30 day period to receive a statement of truth, the need to act quickly is more important than ever.

For fast, efficient reporting we would advise:

  • report claims directly to your insurer as soon as possible following the accident
  • consider giving drivers your insurers’ 24 hour notification telephone number and policy number to help from the scene where appropriate
  • direct reporting is faster and can keep claims costs down through efficient capture and control of third party claims
  • making sure your drivers give accurate information – including third party contact details, is central to the insurer’s ability to manage claims
  • where liability is disputed, insurers will guide you through the process of obtaining a statement of truth
  • the statement of truth can’t be amended and will form the basis of any civil litigation
  • make sure insurers are provided with any footage, independent witness evidence, or other vital information as quickly as possible.
  • contact your broker to discuss setting up efficient reporting procedures and any additional support you need to deal with the whiplash reforms.

Are there any other concerns?

Every transport manager will be aware how important it is to maintain accurate MID records. In view of the changes in legislation, this requirement is even more important; failure to keep the MID up to date can result in unwanted claims against your insurer, which will prove very difficult to remove. 

Once an injury claim is submitted to the portal, the 30 day investigation period cannot be broken or suspended. A vehicle that’s no longer part of your fleet and that’s subsequently involved in an incident can generate a claim in error, which your insurer would be obliged to deal with. Whilst insurers have the option to identify the new correct insurer, completing investigations within 30 days will prove particularly challenging.

If you have any concerns or need further explanation then do not hesitate to get in touch with your broker, or please speak to your Marsh Commercial adviser.

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