As the dust settles following the Jackson Reforms, in effect since April 2013 — there are signs of progress. While the reforms have had a clear impact on the claimant solicitor community, opportunities to drive efficiency for improved profit per case are emerging. With fee caps, lowering cycle time and reducing solicitor involvement on manual tasks are crucial to success.
Since the measures took effect in 2013, ISO has found that our automated claims settlement platform — PICAS Plus has further reduced the claim life cycle for smaller claims entering the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) process. During the first quarter of 2014, the time between stage two settlement pack and response improved by 60% — dropping to four days from an average of ten days — for claims passing through PICAS Plus. The average time between stage two response and settlement fell another 30% in the first quarter of 2014, from just over 11 days to just under eight. Settlement times in PICAS Plus have also dropped significantly. Many claims have settled in less than four minutes, if the initial offer or counteroffer is accepted.
In a market where claimant solicitor fees are expected to fall between 15 and 50 per cent, the efficiency gains ISO has observed become particularly important. Increasing efficiency has two important implications: First, solicitors can invest less time in each case, significantly reducing overheads and, therefore, increasing profits per case. Additionally, freeing solicitors from work loads traditionally associated with claim handling gives them more time to seek new clients or handle more cases per fee earner. By bringing in more business, firms can begin to recapture the absolute profits lost to the Jackson Reforms.
The key to success in the post-Jackson environment is to increase speed and service simultaneously. Automation facilitates speed, and improved efficiency enhances service. With solicitors spending less time occupied by manual processes for each claim, they can add more value to clients by focusing on areas of expertise — and spend more time winning new business.