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Remote medical assessments for motor-related personal injury claims during the lockdown have had an overwhelmingly positive response from customers, highlighted by our recent customer survey.

The findings make clear that further digitalisation of the personal injury claims journey will increasingly become the norm, as customers increasingly adopt the technology that enable them to advance the progress of their claims.

Minster Law claims director Marcus Taylor said: “If customers are telling us that they like using technology for remote medical assessments, our industry has a responsibility to respond, look to digitise this and other parts of the claims journey. Nothing should be off the table.” As well as medicals, Marcus said wider aspects of the claims journey also lend themselves to more digitally-led solutions such as claims registration, rehabilitation, medical appointment booking, claims evaluation, ADR and settlement.

He said: “Not only is this proving much more convenient for customers, but it is also reducing the instances of missed appointments and saves the customer time and money as they no longer need to arrange travel to a GP.”

We asked customers to rate their experience of remote medical assessments.

  • 78% of customers who had attended a medical assessment previously said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the appointment and 75% were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the advice given. 88% said the appointment was easy or very easy.
  • Customers who attended a medical assessment for the first time gave similar feedback. 82% were satisfied/very satisfied with the appointment, 79% were satisfied/very satisfied with the advice, and 89% said the appointment was easy/very easy.

Marcus Taylor said: “Overall customer satisfaction rates of 80%+ are impossible to ignore, especially for customers that have previously experienced a face to face medical assessment and are therefore well placed to make a comparable assessment.

He noted the concerns of both the insurance sector and MOJ about the potential risk of increased fraud from virtual treatments, which is acting as a barrier to wider adoption, and added: “We understand the concerns about fraud too, but up to now it’s hard to really measure how serious a risk it is. Given the increased volume of data and insight we now have around remote assessments, we would welcome and support an evidence-based review to accurately determine whether increased fraud is in fact a genuine risk or not.”

Marcus explained that the April 2020 ACSO/ABI statement of intent (where insurers and claimant firms agreed measures for remote medical examination and rehabilitation) was designed to keep the wheels of justice turning during the crisis, but it has also laid the foundations for a transformational change in personal injury claims processing.

“If providers want to return to pre-Covid face to face processes, injured people will vote with their feet and that will only build in unnecessary delays and costs into the claims process. We’ve predicted increasing demand for digitised claims management for some time and our own end-to-end digital portal for personal injury claims is already up and running and receiving great feedback in terms of customer satisfaction, ease and effort.”

He said: “We are continually investing in our digital offering on the basis that it is what customers want – but insurers and the wider supply chain need to come to the table with something more than their traditional operating model. The industry must become more attuned to customers and deliver services that injured people actually want, rather than adopt a ‘computer says no’ attitude to changing customer demand. Covid-19 has released the ’virtual claims management’ genie from the bottle and there will be no going back.”

Survey details

We surveyed 136 customers using a three-question online survey. Respondents were split into those who had previously attended a face to face medical (26%) and those who were having an assessment for the first time (74%).

The fieldwork was completed during the lockdown, and after the statement of intent was signed at the end of April 2020, which paved the way for remote non-fault claims management.

The data set is available on request.