More questions than answers on the whiplash reforms

There are so many questions to be answered!

It has been a fortnight now since the long awaited whiplash reforms landed. What a busy few weeks it has been and the next few weeks show no sign of slowing down either.

The team supporting me have, with our clients, been reading, reviewing and debating the potential areas of friction, the loopholes and the likely challenges when claims start landing on the 31 May.

After a webinar with 400+ attendees and approaching 50 individual briefings I thought I would offer three overriding themes from those sessions.

  1. There are so many questions to be answered! The webinars from the MIB/OIC last week and the MOJ webinar this week answered some, but certainly not all of the questions. The sheer volume of questions  and the fact that so many of those questions, in both sessions, were left unanswered has clearly led to frustration. Hopefully greater clarity will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
  2. The second clear theme is an operational one. I would call it the “imperfect storm”. We all hope that COVID-19 will be more under control soon and restrictions will be lifted or at least relaxed soon. This will lead inevitably to increased claims frequency. Just as claims frequency rises a new system will come into play. We will all likely still be working remotely come 31 May so we will face a new system while sat in our office at home (if we are lucky enough to have one) or at our kitchen table with no colleagues to ask questions of sat next to us. And then we all hope that, with the relaxation of restrictions, we might be able to take some holidays (even if in the UK…) but then the kids will be back at home thankfully requiring just amusement and not home schooling! There are clear operational challenges here.
  3. There is a significant front loading and pressure placed on claims teams and indeed drivers in obtaining a liability proof of evidence and responding on liability as now required in the new rules. This is all to be done in 30-days and completed with a statement of truth. Even explaining fully the statement of truth and what that entails will be a new challenge for many.

It is certainly too early to say if the rules will work. In our webinar I mentioned above 57% felt that the rules would work… a fortnight on I wonder if we would get the same answer if we asked it today?