AWARE

Keoghs Insight

Author

Marc Wadsworth

MoJ Portal Team

AWARE19/07/2017
Credit Hire Aware 12

Last year we had a new addition to the Credit Hire unit, with the creation of a team to handle credit hire within the MOJ portal (alongside the personal injury elements) as it had been identified that there was a significant impact on indemnity spend in this area. Marc Wadsworth, team leader, explains the reasoning behind the team and how things are quickly developing.

The issue

Traditionally, MoJ Portal claims are managed by personal injury teams, which leads to the credit hire element not being the main focus of handlers.   We have been seeing all too frequently that this meant that credit hire was, and remains, an easy target for claims organisations looking to maximise payouts, especially as personal injury reforms continue to squeeze profit out of RTA claims.

The Portal has long provided a challenge for insurers where credit hire is concerned, with the rules determining that there is no limit to the value of credit hire that can be included with a Portal claim. In addition, the decision of HHJ Freeman in Mulholland v Hughes confirmed that any credit hire issue not raised in the Stage 2 response cannot be argued at Stage 3. As credit hire is intrinsically fairly adversarial with many issues to consider, getting those issues across can be a skill in itself.

Some claimant representatives, following the Court of Appeal decision in Willis v Phillips in March last year, are suggesting that ALL credit hire claims must remain in the portal regardless. This is not correct.  However, knowing which are appropriate cases for the portal and which should be removed requires a comprehensive knowledge of the rules and strong strategic and tactical handling.  

That is how the idea for a MoJ portal team was born.

We (and our clients) had witnessed large credit hire bills being paid in full due to the hire not being adequately dealt with at Stage 2. As a result, Keoghs has been engaging with clients to raise awareness of the importance of Stage 2 responses - including any arguments and evidence they may want to later rely on.

The MoJ Portal team

In response to what we saw as a widespread issue, Keoghs established a team to purely focus on these claims.  We have already handled over 300 cases in just over seven months.

The team is currently made up of three fee earners and two claims advisors bringing together a range of experience in the portal, personal injury and credit hire.

Typical day

We are currently taking claims from the notification stage so typically my first task each day will be to review any new instructions received, looking for any fraud or large loss indicators, and gauging how long we have to respond and what action is needed. At this point, we will also look to identify if there is any hire which we will monitor so that we can reasonably assess any claim down the line.  30% of claims that have reached Stage 2 have hire notified on the CNF, compared to 70% which had submitted invoices for hire.

I also work closely with Melanie Mooney and Mark Sanderson to refine our processes and ensure we achieve successful outcomes. Ultimately, we want to make sure that the right cases drop out of the portal process, and for those that remain within the portal we can still help clients minimise costs at Stage 3 hearings.

Due to the nature of the work, all the team needs to be skilled with the right knowledge to ensure that all heads of claim are investigated so that we can achieving the best savings.  Therefore, providing training and support is another key element of my role on a day to day capacity.

Much of my time at the moment is spent working with the team to use Keoghs’ Know Your Opponent principles and identify what tactics our opponents are using and why, so that we can continue to adapt our own strategies. The MoJ rules still include many “grey” areas and we are actively looking at ways to gain certainty where there currently is none. This mirrors Keoghs’ overall credit hire ethos, focusing on the issues with a strategic response rather than on a transactional basis.

We are also compiling a detailed MI log and I use this to look for any patterns such as:

  • Early or late notification
  • Not telling us or delaying telling us about hire
  • Our average offer
  • Claimant average offer,
  • Average spend

This allows us to adapt our strategy for each opponent. This is shared with clients on a monthly basis to highlight any trends and our results.

Despite the team being in its relative infancy, we are already seeing greater engagement levels from our opponents and have gathered a great deal of useful information at Stage 2 (including loss of use dates, basic hire rate evidence from the time of hire and monitoring notes) to make suitable offers which we believe will provide a reduction on overall indemnity spend.

To date, the team has received 312 cases, of which 83% remain within the portal.  We are now seeing claims start to settle with a notable increase in the percentage of pre-med offers being accepted compared to in-house figures from clients, which is reducing the overall cost of the claim.

For further information please contact:

Marc Wadsworth
Team Leader, MoJ Portal team
T: 01204 678688
E: mwadsworth@keoghs.co.uk

Marc Wadsworth

We posed three questions to Marc to try and find out a little more about him:

1. How long have you been with Keoghs?
I am relatively new having joined Keoghs in November.

2. What experience do you have in the credit hire arena?
Almost 12 years.  I spent over five years’ at an insurance claims handling organisation where I handled credit hire from a defendant perspective, including managing an intervention proposition.

I most recently spent over six years at a leading motorcycle hire and repair service provider where I was Claims Operations Manager, running the office of 60 people processing hire claims from FNOL through to recoveries, including agreeing protocols with insurers and attending many debt reviews (including here at Keoghs).

3. And one personal question: Which three people would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Well, it would have to be Gordon Ramsay – I’d have to have someone to cook it!  

Then it would have to be Noel Gallagher so there’s someone to provide the entertainment - musical or otherwise!

Finally I’d invite Jon Richardson - a little more jovial entertainment, and he’d do the washing up and put everything back into the right place!