Latest data from Official Injury Claim – trends / headlines?

Claims data for the period December 2021 – March 2022 (inclusive) has been released by Official Injury Claim. This means there are now 10 months of experience of OIC’s operation given that it was introduced to facilitate the notification and processing of claims falling within the RTA Small Claims Protocol which was introduced from 31 May 2021. Fast track RTA claims continue to be processed via the Claims Portal Co (often referred to as the MoJ Portal).

The latest OIC data report runs to 15 pages and can be consulted here. Among the headlines are the following.

  • Claims notified via OIC now average around 25,000 per month.
  • The split between represented and unrepresented claimants remains around ten to one (91%:9%).
  • Around two thirds of cases (64%) include a statutory whiplash injury plus another injury and nearly a third (32%) include statutory whiplash injuries only.
  • Two in five (38%) unrepresented claimants claim exceptional injuries/circumstances whereas only one in four (23%) represented claimants does so.
  • Settlement data has been released for the first time, showing 17,607 claims being settled since introduction of the service and 93% of those settling in whiplash tariff bands of up to nine months’ duration of symptoms (which is unsurprising given that the service has been running for ten months).

Combining OIC data with that from Claims Portal Co indicates average monthly claims numbers of around 32,000 since OIC was introduced. Although this is notably lower than pre-reform, pre-Covid averages of more than 55,000 cases per month in the Claims Portal, the latest OIC data report notes that direct comparison is difficult, stating that “There are significant non-service factors influencing driver behaviour and accident rate. These include the impact of Covid-19 as well as the general economic factors of cost and inflation that will indirectly influence vehicle miles and vehicle parc and ultimately accident rate.”

Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill – final stages?

This is the legislation to remove the effects of the Vnuk decision from motor insurance law in England & Wales and in Scotland. It has been the subject of various earlier posts and updates on the blog.

The Bill’s Committee Stage debate was listed in the Lords for 6th April. The official report for the day is this: “Order for Commitment discharged”. I am pleased to say that not being a complete procedural geek, I didn’t instantly recognise the phrase. Erskine May (the bible on parliamentary process) explains that it is the formality by which a Bill can be scheduled, without the need for debate, for its next stage if no Peer wishes to speak and no amendments have been tabled.

Thus the next stage has been listed for 25 April – which is the last Lords sitting day of the current Parliamentary session. So this is going down to the wire after all, but we remain cautiously optimistic that the remaining stages of this short, but important, Bill will be completed then. Arrangements for commencement are that it will take effect two months afterwards.


Written by Alistair Kinley at BLM (alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com)

NI discount rate changes to minus 1.5% as of today, 22 March 2022

The Government Actuary (GA) has now carried out the rate-setting calculation detailed in the Damages (Return on Investment) Act 2022 to set a new discount rate for personal injury claims in Northern Ireland involved damages for future losses. The new rate, which applies from today, is -1.5%. At this level, the new rate in NI:

  • is probably somewhat lower than would have been widely expected
  • remains the lowest in any jurisdiction in the UK and Ireland, leading to the highest awards and claims cost, and
  • will be subject to further review and re-calculation in July 2024

The newly effective rate is a modest change to the rate under the previous legislation, i.e. -1.75%, which had been introduced on 31 May 2021. That said, it is worth noting that the GA explains in the report setting out his latest calculations that a rate assessed today, under the previous approach, would have been “in the region of -2.25%.”

It is probably fair to say that the new rate being as low as -1.5% is unlikely to have been anticipated generally. Although some negative movement from the Scottish rate of -0.75% produced in September 2019 under all-but identical legislation was regarded as likely, the deterioration in economic conditions in the last 30 months has led to the outcome of -1.5%. As the GA observes: “over the last few years, expectations of future inflation have increased whilst expectations of future returns on most asset classes have fallen. This results in a lower PI discount rate than would have been the case if it had been set a number of years ago.”

It is important to note that this new rate will itself be reviewed again in summer 2024 so that the rate-setting cycles in NI and in Scotland will coincide.

The Statutory Instrument setting the -1.5% rate and the GA’s report can be accessed via links at the ‘Notes’ section of the press release issued yesterday by the NI Justice Department.


Written by Alistair Kinley at BLM (alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com)