There comes a time when to not say anything would be to betray who you are, or in our case, who we represent. MASS has worked constructively with Ministry of Justice and the Motor Insurance Bureau on implementation of the reforms. We certainly don’t like key aspects, but if they are going to happen, we would rather that they are implemented as manageably as possible for motor accident victims, with as little disruption as possible.
MIB have been tasked with a major and complicated project to create the new LiP Portal. Whilst considerable progress has undoubtedly been made, there are still fundamental decisions on the new process yet to be taken. We are likely to only have a “minimum viable product” fit for testing from October this year and effectively an unfinished system in April 2020.
This is not good enough. A “minimum viable product” does not safeguard accident victims and fully support Litigants in Person, who will be vulnerable to some unscrupulous CMCs. The new Portal must be fully fit-for-purpose and properly tested ahead of launch, and we currently cannot see that this will be possible with so many important decisions still to be taken. No-one wants a system that will create further problems, is expensive to retrofit and which no-one has yet A2A “on-boarded”. MedCo have already expressed doubts whether its extended role can be fully integrated in time.
Then there are the decisions that have already been taken. Having dual-operating Portals, one for RTA whiplash claims below £5,000 and one for all other claims, rather than full integration has long been considered the worst option available, and yet that is what is proposed. Proceeding without integrating rehabilitation, credit hire and repair costs is a serious error. Several aspects of the new LiP Portal, such as AskCUE PI searches and ADR, will not be available to legally represented claimants. Discriminating against legally represented claimants and effectively providing unfair advantages for CMCs should not be acceptable. Then there is the inclusion of minors and other protected parties. We fail to understand why children and other protected parties are considered no less vulnerable than those ‘vulnerable road users’ who have already been excluded from the reforms. If the new process does not encompass all aspects of an RTA claim and has not been fully tested, implementation must be delayed beyond April 2020 to ensure the accident victim is protected.
Paul Nicholls, author of “Protecting the accident victim” is Chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) and a Senior Partner in Nicholls Brimble Bhol.
This article first appeared in Modern Insurance Magazine Issue 39