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September 23, 2009

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Insurers want new claims process to stretch to workplace

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called on the Government to extend a new streamlined process for road-traffic accident personal-injury claims to also cover employers’ liability insurance claims.

Writing on behalf of justice minister, Bridget Prentice, Michael Wills MP announced on 22 September that a new system would be established to process claims, valued between £1000 and £10,000, of people injured in motor accidents. The aim behind the overhaul is threefold: to provide early notification of claims; to promote early admissions of liability and early settlements; and to remove duplication of work.

The scheme will reduce the time taken to settle disputes by establishing fixed time limits and costs for settling less complex claims. The Civil Justice Council has negotiated an agreement between claimant and insurer representatives on the fixed recoverable costs, which will depend on which stage of the new process each case reaches.

Draft rules, practice directions and pre-action protocols still need to be ironed out before the new process can go live in April next year.

Although giving its full backing to the announcement, the ABI has urged the Government to extend it to cover those injured in the workplace.

The group’s director of general insurance and health, Nick Starling, said: “The ABI has long argued for a simpler, more streamlined compensation system that works in the interests of consumers. . . This new process will cut down on delays, and reduce the high legal costs that are paid for through motor-insurance premiums.

“It is now vital that employees injured at work have the same opportunity as those injured on our roads to benefit from this new process, so we call on the Government to extend it to cover employers’ liability insurance claims.”

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