Fraud Future Series: Routes to Market

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Fraud Future Series: Routes to Market

Published 5 abril 2022

Welcome to the DACB Fraud Futures Series.

Over the next few months we will be looking back at predictions made by our team and considering whether or not those predictions have come true, through robust statistical analysis of our considerable data set backed up by evidence from our portfolio of claims and those of our clients.

In our first article we look at predictions on routes to market and how claims are presented. The biggest change for some time in the claims space has been brought about by the Whiplash Reforms and although the Reforms apply to motor claims, they have ramifications across the industry. In particular there were expectations around claims being presented by litigants in person and the activity of claims farmers and fears of stockpiling and incubation. Below we put our predictions under the spotlight and consider how accurate they were.

Litigants in Person

Prediction: The Whiplash Reforms will lead to an increased number of litigants in person on motor injury claims as the field becomes less profitable for lawyers to be working in.

The most recent data published by the OIC service which is for the quarter from 1 September to 30 November 2021 suggests that 9% of claims in the portal came from LiPs. Our clients report a consistently lower figure than that but what does our data say?

The motor fraud data collected for 2021 shows no increase in the proportion of claims featuring litigants in person. If anything, there has arguably been a decrease since the Civil Liability Act came into force.

 

However, this prediction could still come true in time, and we will certainly revisit this later in the year.

It was feared that a surge in litigants in person would put pressure on insurer claims teams dealing with individuals with no understanding of the claims process but lower numbers of claims overall and the low proportion of litigants in person mean that this has not happened. With further publicity of the new portal and as the new system beds it is possible that litigants in person will increase and we can provide outsource support or handler training to deal with those claimants.

Verdict: False – No increase in litigants in person as yet.

An interesting question is whether those who appear to be using the portal as litigants in person are really acting alone. The quality of SCNFs still remains extremely poor, with defendant’s name and description of injuries being very inconsistently completed. However, we have noticed clear examples of the sections relating to accident damage and credit hire being completed to a very high standard when the rest of the document is not, and so there are clearly those working in the background advising LIPs without formally declaring themselves as acting. This may be due to regulatory requirements of AMCs and CMCs or it may simply be an opportunity to test boundaries at this early stage.

Claims Farmers

Prediction: We will see a return of ‘old school’ cold calling and door knocking farming models, in order to locate aged claims from prior to May 31st 2021.This will replace the more contemporary tech driven acquisition methods, like ad spoofing or data theft, which tend to obtain live claim data. An increase in time from incident to notification of claim would be evidence that this is occurring.

Using our data we can look at the time between incidents and CNFs as an indicator of farming. There has been a significant lengthening in notification delays over the years.

   

 2019             

 2020             

 2021             

 Average days from             
 incident to CNF

 150

 166

 246

Of particular note, the notification delay really started to move up in the second half of 2021 suggesting that older claims were being mined.

We have developed a set of claims farming indicators which drive our innovative claims farming tool – we can identify farmed claims which can then be transferred to our specialist handling team and handled in accordance with a bespoke strategy. Contact our claims farming lead Dan Prince for further information.

Verdict: True - Time from incident to CNF is definitely increasing suggesting the presence of claims farmers.


Prediction:
 
The traditional model of farming will drop off post Reform when these claims become less lucrative.

Our extensive data suggests that firms we associate with claims farming are re-appearing post Reform.

Indeed, the industry is also reacting to claimant firms’ attempts to evade farming indicators, with one firm having been reported to the OIC Service for failing to insert claimant details with their reasoning being that they did not want insurer approaches to their clients.   

If you would like further information on the solicitors we are seeing and how you can deal with these tactics, please get in touch. 

Our unique wiki based KYO tool, KYOTO, houses a wealth of information on opponents and provides intelligence on those we see who are involved in this practice. The pages are continuously updated with the most recent developments and include strategies on how to tackle this issue. Contact our KYO Lead Rob Fallows for further information.

Verdict: False – Farming is still an issue in the OIC portal.


There have been predictions that claims farmers will look to acquire vehicle damage only claims and credit hire claims rather than injury claims. Look out for our Vehicle Hire and Damage predictions piece later this year where we explore this further.

Our specialist Vehicle Hire and Damage Fraud team have in depth KYO knowledge and can provide training and updates to ensure that your teams are fully up to speed with all of the most recent developments in this area. For further information contact Helen Mason, Head of Vehicle Hire and Damage Fraud.

Incubation and Stock Piling

Prediction: Small to medium claimant solicitors will bulk load claims at some point in the first year.

Based on our own data on instructions received, there is no clear evidence of claimant firms stockpiling claims and issuing them all at once although this may be more visible for clients who have larger pre litigation portfolios.

Since the reforms came in, there has been no month where any of the top 20 firms in motor fraud have featured on over 50% more instructions than expected based on the rest of the year.

Verdict: Unproven – No evidence here, but clients may be better exposed to this.

Stock piling

In general claim levels in the OIC portal have been lower than pre portal. One high volume claimant solicitor firm has been very vocal about difficulties in using the portal, although the MoJ have suggested that this experience is not replicated across the market. Difficulties with the portal could therefore be one reason for lower numbers although there is also a suspicion that some larger players are first submitting claims with the most obvious liability scenarios (i.e. rear end shunts) to understand the process and that other types of claims will follow in greater numbers at a later date. The jury is out therefore as to whether the lower numbers mean there will actually be less claims in the long run or those claims are being stock piled.

Incubation

Another unknown is the extent of incubation which is taking place. Are lower numbers down to the fact that claimant representatives are holding onto the claims to maximise their value? In addition our clients are reporting that there are low numbers of claims moving from liability acceptance stage to medical report and conclusion. Are claimant representatives holding off on the medical report to achieve a longer prognosis – and therefore a bigger cut for the representative themselves? Or is this another issue with the new portal and its bedding in process? Again – this is an area where no firm conclusions can be drawn at this stage.

We have an experienced team of data analysts who are able to take tranches of data to look for patterns and trends and test our predictions. For more information on our data analytics service please contact Dan Turner, Senior Data Analyst.

Authors

Kate Abrahams

Kate Abrahams

Birmingham

+44 (0) 121 698 5373

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