A High Court judge has thrown out judicial reviews brought by two medical reporting organisations (MROs) against their suspension from the MedCo portal. Mr Justice Lavender said there was “obviously something unsatisfactory” about the approach taken by Med Chambers and Prime Medicals.
UK motor insurers should see “a strong uplift in profits” next year as a result of the discount rate review and whiplash reforms, Big Four accountancy firm EY has predicted. It forecast that insurance premiums would also fall by up to £21 if the discount rate rises from -2.5% to 0-1%, as suggested by the Ministry of Justice.
Claimant lawyers have leapt on a newspaper report that accused insurers of “routinely inflating repair costs” by as much as 100%, while receiving “undisclosed kickbacks” for the difference. Lobbying group Access to Justice said the Association of British Insurers had shown “breathtaking hypocrisy” in failing to condemn the practice while continuing to argue for whiplash reform.
Some 560 authorised users of MedCo – law firms, claims management companies and compensators – were suspended from the system earlier in the spring for failing to accept the new user agreement that requires them to declare financial links with any medical reporting organisation. Meanwhile, four tier 1 MROs have been reclassified as tier 2.
MedCo has identified and suspended a further 21 ‘shell’ companies from the MedCo system, taking the total purged since the revised qualifying criteria were put in place last October to 155. The definition of a medical reporting organisation was changed last year to stop the use of shells to gather instructions and forward them on.
MedCo has continued its enforcement activity by suspending 23 medical reporting organisations and 14 direct medical experts for failing to upload medical case data to its system. Both are required to upload medical case data as part of their user agreements.
Solicitors who received the £400 stage 1 fixed-costs payment due under the original version of the RTA protocol do not have to repay the money even though no action was then taken on their cases, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
MedCo issued 337 warning letters to users – and went on to suspend two-thirds of them – over the past year for behaviours such as circumventing the random search selection process and influencing medical experts’ opinions on diagnosis/prognosis, it has emerged.