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The EL/PL Portal – the latest figures and observed behaviours

The latest claims portal management information for EL and PL claims was released in December 2013, covering the first four months of the new…

EL/PL Portal by numbers

The latest claims portal management information for employers and public liability claims was released In December 2013 covering the first four months of the new process which went live on 31 July 2013. 

The cumulative total from the 31 July 2013 until the 30 November 2013 is as follows: 

  • 5062  employers liability accident claims (EL)
  • 9021 public liability (PL) 

So far 48 EL claims and 51 PL claims have settled at Stage 2 of the process. 

A total of 6535 claims (46.4%) have left the process either at Stage 1 or as a result of the exit process. The portal company have issued a caveat that the number of claims sent via the portal includes duplicate claims but exact figures on the volume of duplicates are not known at present. 

The claims leaving the process can be broken down as follows: 

  • 2114 EL (41.7%)
  • 4421 PL (49%) 

The above figures for claims that are leaving the process include 3624 claims that left the process at Stage 1 because liability was not admitted or admitted subject to contributory negligence. 

The number of cases settled reflects the immature status of the figures. It is difficult at this stage to draw any conclusions with regard to the cases leaving the process, with the largest single number of ‘exits’ (1795) categorised as ‘other’. However the level of claims leaving the process is not significantly different from RTA claims (RTA approximately 47.5%).

This indicates that defendant organisations are by and large managing the challenge of the extended portal and should be in a position to reap the benefits of the fixed costs for claims that can be concluded within the portal. 

Whilst the extended portal is in its infancy, what is clear is that due to the pressures of timescales now imposed on defendants, it is vital that insurers/TPAs/policy holders work together to ensure that a balance is struck between paying out on those claims which cannot be defended within the portal to secure the benefit of the fixed costs regime whilst at the same time not opening the flood gates for spurious/fraudulent claims and equally continuing to defend actions which can be defended. 

Latest on behaviours 

  1. CNFs are being submitted for claims which are clearly multi track in value in the hope of obtaining admissions on liability and then exiting the portal due to multi track valuation but still seeking to rely on the admission.  Anyone dealing with the Stage 1 process should remain vigilant when receiving a CNF as to whether the claim could be multi track in value.  A decision to admit should be made on the evidence not simply on the assumed value being under £25,000.
  2. There are still reported problems with regard to inadequate information being submitted on the CNF. It would be advisable in those circumstances to raise this with opponents and request further information to assist with liability enquiries, failing which put them on notice that if such information is not forthcoming and you are forced to exit the portal due to inadequate information on the CNF, you will be seeking to limit the opponent to in portal fixed costs.
  3. There are queries whether all claims involving minors, including claims from care homes and from schools (e.g. where teachers are injured by school children) are exempt from the Portal due to the wording of section 4.3.8 of the protocol.  This section states that the protocol does not apply to claims in relation to harm abuse or neglect of or by children or vulnerable adults. It is submitted that it cannot be argued that all infant claims are exempt and any attempt by claimant lawyers to argue to the contrary should be reported to the Portal Behaviour Committee. Section 4.3.8 was drafted to deal with a relatively small number of specialist claims, and was not designed to produce a blanket exemption.
  4. Where a defendant withdraws an admission on causation (permitted within the initial consideration period of 15 days from receipt of the stage 2 settlement pack) be mindful of the fact that you have to make payment of stage 1 costs within 10 days of the stage 2 settlement pack but you may decide to withdraw the admission after this time period. There is the potential for the claimant in those circumstances to then withdraw the claim and keep stage 1 costs. 

How can we help? 

  1. Feedback any new behaviours emerging to us to enable us all to focus on solutions.
  2. Continued training to deal with the ongoing effects of the reforms.
  3. Collate MI re portal claims received, quality of CNF’s, and main reasons for exiting the portal.
  4. Let us know if you are seeing any unexpected effects of the reforms. 

For further information about the issues raised in this article please contact Navdip Wilson on 0116 261 6415 or at navdip.wilson@weightmans.com