Last portal data pre-referendum shows another mixed picture set against a trend of levelling off of new claims volumes
14 June 2016
Claims Portal have now released in one package their data for the 2 months of April and May. While it may not attract the same attention as the EU referendum as we move towards the vote on whether or not there should be a Brexit, we can use this MI to update our analysis including of new claims volumes.
In the short term, the month-by-month numbers for April and May show a mixed picture on RTA but a clear decreasing one in all casualty portals, including a substantial decrease in EL disease.
Longer term trends assessed over 12 months’ worth of data show a levelling off in the rate of declining new claims volumes across all 4 portals. It is though too early to say whether this is a sign towards more stable volumes of new claims, and in any event that issue will be substantially affected by the proposed Autumn Statement reforms, on which a government consultation is expected after the EU vote and before the parliamentary summer recess.
New RTA claims month by month
In April there were 71,876 new claims, an increase of 1.4% over March. In May the number of new claims fell to 66,476, a drop of 7.5%. The average monthly number of new claims throughout the 12 months up until the end of March 2015 was 71,491, so while April’s number was marginally above that, May’s was 5,000 lower.
Is there a seasonal factor at play to explain May’s lower figure? Sometimes a tendency for claimant lawyers to take holidays at particular times of year impacts on the number of new CNFs submitted in any given month. Last year we saw a fall of 6.5% between April and May but that year the spring bank holiday was 25 May and therefore half term mainly fell within May. This year the bank holiday was 30 May and so most of half term fell outside May and yet we saw a fall of 7.5%, so we probably cannot see an answer in this factor.
New RTA claims 12 months cumulative
At first glance the three bars on the right hand side of our 12 month graph show that a least a degree of stability has been achieved recently. When we last looked at this data 2 months ago, we anticipated that this stable trend would become visible, because of the existing pattern of the data from the comparative period 12 months ago.
In fact, looking more precisely, there continue to be falls on this measurement, albeit small ones. The monthly decease over the last 2 months combined has been 0.3%, barely perceptible on our graph.
There have now been falling numbers on this 12 month assessment over 8 of the last 9 months. We saw peaks in April 2013 of 883,242 and in August 2015 of 880,580. As at May 2016 this number now stands at 855,294, which is a drop of 2.9% over the last 9 months.
New casualty claims month by month
In the case of all 3 casualty portals we have seen 2 consecutive monthly falls in the latest data now released.
In EL, there were 4,315 new notified claims in April and 4,183 in May. The monthly average over the 12 months to March was 4,376. The overall fall from March through to May was 6.7%.
As to PL, there were 5,525 new claims in April and 5,236 in May. This compares to an average of 6,609 seen over the 12 months to March. The PL fall between March and May was 9.4%.
In the case of EL disease the decrease is even greater. In the months of April and May there were 990 and 886 new claims respectively. This is the first time the number of new disease CNFs has been in 3 digits rather than 4 since December 2013, soon after the casualty portals had opened.
The extent of the EL disease drop off is significant. In May the number of new CNFs fell to only 47% of the new claims number seen last October. We have now seen the 6th and 7thconsecutive monthly decline in the number of new EL disease claims.
While it is important to have in mind that multi-defendant disease cases will also be pursued outside the portal, this drop off is clearly significant and must be due to a decreasing interest in this type of claim on the part of claimant lawyers, due in turn to factors such as a greater realisation of low prospects of success, and impending reform affecting this type of claim in particular.
New casualty claims 12 month cumulative
The latest 2 months of data showing the longer term trends over the previous 12 months show a levelling off of the number of new EL and PL accident claims, following a number of months of decline. In fact both sets of data show still a marginal decreasing trend, though we expect from an analysis of data nearly 12 months ago which will be included in future months’ assessments that the next couple of months will show a return to a downward trend for new EL and PL claims.
EL disease is showing a significant fall over the last 4 months even when we look on this cumulative basis, and that trend is likely to become more pronounced.
Retention rates on a 12 month curve show trends similar to those seen in the last analysis 2 months ago. RTA remains at around 45%, EL and PL just above and below 20% respectively, while EL disease is just a handful of percent. The ultimate landing place for the month of May is in fact very slightly above where the position stood in March in the case of all 4 portals.
Settled RTA claims
This is the analysis on a month-by-month rather than 12 month rolling basis:
The new data for the last 2 months fits with that for March showing higher levels than the preceding 7 months. The 12 month cumulative trend is still downwards but the rate of decline is slowing.
RTA claims still in the portal
The size of the problem faced by Claims Portal can be seen here:
We reached the level of 1m claims in March and the number has continued to rise. Claims Portal report that their clean-up exercise started on the evening of 23 May and will continue on an “ongoing daily basis”. So only 1 week’s worth of work was included in the data above: clearly too soon to see an impact.
Stage 3 usage
This was high in RTA as has become the norm. In both months for which data has been released the level was over 5,450 and these months were the 2nd and 3rd highest ever after the 5,630 seen in March. Usage in the casualty portals was unremarkable based on lower volumes.
These showed an upward trend generally.
In the case of RTA claims, the 2 new months showed average levels of £2,643 and £2,638, levels which were 2.3% over the November 2015-February 2016 average level and presumably linked to the Judicial College Guidelines increases.
EL and PL figures saw highest ever levels with £4,009 for EL (seen in April) and £3,941 (in May) for PL. EL disease levels for the 2 new months were £3,942 and £3,943 respectively and so similar to PL.
And so onto the referendum. Its outcome could substantially affect the MoJ and its future plans for reform, as well as the government as a whole. We will continue to assess the Claims Portal data as we await news of these pivotal developments.
This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.