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Digital claims an opportunity not a panacea

Minster Law has formally launched its new digital claims portal – INK – with 16 thousand customers already live in the system, since the newest version with ungraded functionality went live in July.  

CEO Shirley Woolham hailed INK as the first fully operational digital claims journey in the sector.  

She said 70% of customers suffering minor injuries are currently using INK and the target is to see a 95% usage within the next 6 to 12-months.  

After 2-years working on INK, including substantially re-engineering our business to become reform ready, I am very proud that Minster Law is the first legal services firm in the UK claims sector to offer a start-to-finish digital claims journey to our customers and our partners,” She said.  

INK, which is mobile-enabled and provides omni-channel claims servicing, has achieved 95% satisfaction rates among customers and will lock seamlessly into the government’s small claims portal when it finally goes live next year. 

This is not just a shiny piece of front-end kit with a clunky back office sat behind it,” Shirley said.  

As well as the customer-facing portal, we have spent £5m re-developing our entire back office operation to enable INK to scale immediately and handle anything from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of volume injury claims. 

She explained INK is a key element in an omni-channel claims journey which provides human interaction for customers who need it, and an element of the onboarding process is still done by telephone to provide customers with peace of mind. 

From there the claim can be managed online, including medical and rehabilitation appointments, all documents and correspondence, loss registration, settlement and case progression updates.  

In regards to the new MoJ claims portal, due to launch in April next year, Shirley said INK had been built to plug in.  

“We’ll be able to retrofit our system around the new rules from the CPRC when they appear.  

It means our customers stay within the INK process but behind the scenes the claim will follow the requirements of the MoJ’s small claims portal; we can do all the work on our customers’ behalf. 

She said INK underlines Minster’s status as a ‘reform ready’ legal services firm. 

“It is the first digital claims operation in the sector to perform high quality claims processing at scale. 

“As well as onboarding customers from our existing partners, we are talking to a number of other potential insurer partners as there is no limit to INK’s processing ability. 

“Insurers wanting a super low-cost volume injury claims service with very high levels of customer satisfaction should come and talk to us.”   

Consumer opinion on the value of a digital journey has changed over the last three years, when 50% of customers preferred offline claims handling, and 50% were happy to go down the digital route. 

“Now, I’m convinced the public are far more relaxed about using technology, even in sensitive areas such as settling an injury claim, and acceptance has been rapidly accelerated by the Covid pandemic,” Shirley said. 

“During the pandemic, the claims industry had to embrace online in order to keep the wheels of justice turning, and I don’t believe there is any likelihood of a return to analogue claims servicing in the volume space.” 

She said with the pandemic putting more pressure on the courts, leading to a big increase in civil (and criminal) cases awaiting a hearing, technology that delivered a rapid resolution and avoided litigation would deliver ‘huge benefits.’  

“We are actively looking at introducing new protocols and technology to resolve disputed claims without the need for court and enabling claims to stay on track in the government portal. “

“We expect to be in a position to update the market on this in due course.”

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