May 14, 2020

New portal figures for April illustrate impact of lockdown on claims

Updated management information published by the Portal Company has illustrated the immediate impact of the Government’s lockdown and social restrictions on the number of personal injury claims placed through the Claims Portal system.

The figures published for the previous month, March 2020, had shown a demonstrable drop compared to February 2020 in claims across road traffic, public liability and employer’s liability.  This was expected as the Government’s guidance for individuals to stay at home was in effect from late March. 

The publication of the number of new claims notification forms (CNFs) issued in April 2020 demonstrates the precipitous drop seen when compared to same period in 2019 as set out below:

  CNFs April 2020 CNFs April 2019 % change from April 2019
RTA 23,796 54,724 -57%
EL 2,050 3,923 -48%
PL 2,629 4,401 -40%

By way of comparison, the total number of CNFs issued across January and February 2020 were broadly comparable with the numbers issued in January and February 2019, and therefore the reductions seen in March and April can reasonably be attributed to the various impacts of Covid-19.

  CNFs January & February 2020 CNFs January & February 2019 % change in 2020 from January & February 2019
RTA 115,749 119,257 -2.9%
EL 7,337 7,481 -1.9%
PL 9,214 9,234 -0.2%

The drop in new CNFs issued in April 2020 is also consistent with reporting from insurers themselves, who have indicated that claims notifications on a first party basis from their policyholders have decreased by up to 70% in motor and other claims lines.

There have been significant reductions in motor usage, thus reducing motor vehicle collisions. Restrictions on movement and the closure of many workplaces will have reduced the incidence of liability claims. However, the decrease in claims notifications may not necessarily be solely attributable to the impact of social distancing measures on incidents which would usually give rise to claims; those personal injuries which may have occurred during the lockdown period may take some time to find their way into the Claims Portal.

Therefore, it is also possible that the need for claimant representatives to move to a remote working environment has impacted the number of CNFs issued; the lockdown is likely to have obstructed their ability to both obtain new instructions and progress those claims on which they are already instructed.

Whilst the Government’s messaging on social distancing and return to work has become slightly more relaxed this week, a return to ‘normality’ may yet be several months away. Therefore, we expect to see a continued significant reduction in new CNFs in the coming months when compared to the numbers of claims presented in previous years. 

We will continue to review the Claims Portal figures and provide updates in the coming months.