handl Engage proves that the new OIC portal can work as advertised.
We launched handl Engage in 2021 as a response to sweeping reforms to the way lower-value claims are handled in England and Wales. When OIC announced the launch of a new portal for self-managing these claims, firms worried that the doors would be open for professional enablers to slow down the process, and increase both costs and operational expenses.
Over the past few weeks, the OIC has released a new set of user statistics explaining how their claim portal is being used in the post-reform landscape. And at first glance, those original fears seem to have come to pass.
Articles and think pieces across the insurance industry are claiming that the new process isn’t working, isn’t fit for purpose, and is causing serious issues for claimants and insurers alike. Some even go as far as to claim that the portal needs “saving.”
But handl Engage’s interpretation of that data tells a different story…
The data isn’t as clear as first made out
The OIC statistics for 1 December to 31 March seem to show that:
Claims are down over 50% compared to the last full year before the pandemic
Only 12,000 of over 90,000 claims have successfully exited the portal
91% of claimants have sought representation from the professional enablers we originally worried about
Higher representation figures, longer settlement times - on the surface, those statistics are clear. The OIC portal has failed.
But all statistics are open to interpretation. And the team at Coplus - one of the group of handl brands powering handl Engage’s proposition - are clear in the way they interpret some murky data.
Coplus’ Managing Director James Blyth explains:
“When we saw the first sets of OIC data, we saw promising results. LIPs were settling claims even more quickly than represented claimants, and everything was working as advertised. This latest batch of data looks like we’re now seeing a really high percentage of represented cases being settled.”
“But that’s not the case. Because the data we are seeing is cumulative - it’s all the cases since the launch of the portal, including maturing cases that firms have been sitting on for a while. If you look beyond the headline figures, what you see is that LIPs are using the portal as intended. They just need a little help.”
Scratch the surface, and the OIC portal can work as advertised
handl’s interpretation of the data adds a new layer of understanding to the raw figures. Through handl Engage, we’ve seen thousands of customers navigate the portal. And thanks to the clarity our service gives claimants and insurers, a clearer picture of how the OIC portal works has emerged.
The initial data shows that only 9% of users are able to use the portal without help from legal firms or professional enablers. Add handl Engage to the equation, and that figure leaps to 61%.
Maturing cases in the OIC data suggest that resolutions are taking longer than ever - 12 months or more - with an associated increase in operational expenses.
But look at handl Engage customers, track their process through the portal, and you’ll see settlement times halved to just six months.
Yes, there are problems. Problems with the way data is being collected and interpreted, and more importantly problems with the way the OIC portal is being used.
The core problem is that Litigants in Person (LiPs) are left to their own devices. They’re not sure of what steps to take, and this leaves the door wide open for the professional enablers.
Give them certainty, and that problem is solved.
handl Engage solves this problem
handl Engage has piloted a new way of guiding LiPs through the OIC portal. Working alongside insurers, we’re able to support claimants through the process, while allowing insurers to retain control of the process. It’s not just improving customer experience for LiPs using the portal, it’s improving the customer experience they receive from their insurer.
And more than just streamlining the reformed claims process, handl Engage is able to reduce fraud, provide triage and rehabilitation, and bypass the courts with rapid, independent and completely impartial claims settlements.
It's a proposition that’s already addressing and solving issues with the OIC portal, and it’s one that we’re sharing. Not just with insurers, but with the MoJ and MiB.
A new approach to intervention
handl Engage is providing the support and scaffolding that the public need to successfully navigate the post-reform claims landscape. And we’ve written to the MoJ and MiB to explain how our approach is solving the problems people have been so quick to identify.
As handl CCO Chris Chatterton notes, our proposition could be the key to unlocking the potential of the OIC portal:
“For every 100 represented cases going through the OIC without handl Engage intervention, the data showed the average cost to be £1460 per claim. Although there is still a dearth of OIC settlement data, our early estimates are that with intervention, the cost per case falls to £1,100, a predicted saving of £350.”
“If we model this across the universe of the OIC once it is at BAU, and handling 350,000 claims each year, intervention using our process could result in 60% of LiPs using the portal (210,000 injury claims), as opposed to 90% now, driving down costs by over £122m and helping the portal do the job it was supposed to do.”
While we wait for a response from the MoJ and MiB, you don’t need to. You can discover the difference handl Engage could make today by seeing the power of our proposition for yourself.