2021-03-25

It's all systems go

Many of you may have seen me as part of the panel on the highly successful Motor Webinar Wednesdays. Ian Davies, the Head of Motor, asked me:

Can you do a blog for Behind the Wheel, Mike, and explain to us motor lawyers and our clients about the more technical side of the new portal system and the challenges?

The hard bit of that is that there is so much to cover, but what follows hopefully touches on the most topical points, while avoiding too much technical jargon…

With the new Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal launching soon at www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk, and operating alongside the existing MoJ portal, there will necessarily be a new layer of complexity for claims teams to consider, and many new rules to become familiar with. Despite the considerable planning work, all those involved anticipate system fixes being required after launch, correcting the inevitable teething issues that come with a radical new process. As a result, many in the industry have elected to wait for the dust to settle before distracting busy internal IT teams with coding changes to claims systems, and will rely on claims handlers to manually monitor activity on the new portal as it ramps up.

And ramp up it will. While the OIC is valid for new claims arising from accidents from 31 May, the operators of the service (MoJ via the MIB) have indicated that they expect around 150,000 claims to be processed on the service in the first year, with use accelerating beyond that. There are several reasons why claims might not complete their journey in the new system, such as the value tipping over the upper limits but also confusion around the how the system works.

Remember - the aim of the OIC is to encourage claimants to make their own claims through the new online service, unsupported by professional advisors.

As someone with around 30 years’ experience of delivering IT systems this is an admirable goal, but a lofty one.

Across the industry many are working hard to analyse the rules and predict the impact of these changes. At Kennedys IQ we have long committed to supporting our clients with integration to the OIC from launch through our Portal Manager solution, creating a seamless environment that monitors claims made via both portals. All of us working on such integrations are facing a short time frame made complicated by multiple announcements of releases as details are gradually made available. 

In fact, those changes are not limited to OIC, but also affect the existing MoJ portal. So some organisations who have operational interfaces to the existing portal will be required to consider the impact of those changes on their existing systems. Simply put, if your system integrates with the MoJ portal it will not automatically integrate with the OIC system.

Neither will the systems, built for the same purpose, talk to each other.

I say to the team who work with me that it is part of our job to identify problems, but we must also provide solutions.

So, what is Kennedys IQ solution to these problems?

The potential scale of change and the uncertainty as to how the new system (and surrounding legal processes) will settle results in a ‘wait and see’ response from many. With Portal Manager being both an integration service as well as a complete SaaS solution, we are taking a different approach. Our UI (user interface) is ready, and will present users with OIC claims activity from day one.

We are realistic we know we will have to iterate, as the rules are clarified and behaviour patterns emerge from claimant and compensator alike. A rapid development approach driven by user feedback and data allows us to react to user behaviour. In parallel the insight and expertise of Kennedys’ legal experts will inform us. The goal is to deliver responsive strategies that will augment claims handlers in delivering their expertise in the right way to the benefit of customers whilst safely managing litigants in person.

One of the first areas that every compensator will be watching carefully is the point where new claims are first notified. A generous sounding 30 working day deadline stretches before you. Yet there is a lot to do and failure to complete may result in a default acceptance of liability when the sand runs out in the timer. Our existing users tell us that they will have enough to worry about without a separate diary system – so we will provide one diary system across both the MoJ and OIC systems. Information flows will need to be expedited - especially where broker/insurer relationships exist. Customer journeys through the claims process will need to be protected and enhanced - and great technology is going to be vital to support that.

Advanced automation techniques may help to assess claim notification details in the first instance, offering early indicators of missing or incomplete information. Indeed, this is an ideal moment to introduce new approaches to managing claims.

To learn more about the roadmap for Portal Manager and how it can help your business both now and in the future, contact the team at Kennedys IQ.