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June's new claims portal data allows insight into latest trends while publication of the Civil Liability Bill and the 14th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines are both awaited

Yesterday saw both the introduction of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill as part of the Brexit process as well as the publication by Claims Portal of their MI for the month of June.

Summary

As we await publication of the Civil Liability Bill designed to implement the government's reform agenda, the portal MI for June shows new claims broadly at a similar level to what we saw in May.

While volumes remain high especially in the case of RTA claims, longer term trends continue to point downwards with RTA and PL, and while EL volumes may be close to stabilisation there is little evidence in support of that this month.

Use of stage 3 remains high as we await publication of the 14th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines expected on 14 September. PSLA levels have increased between 8 and 13% by claims type since the 13th edition was published nearly 2 years ago.

New RTA claims in June

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In June there were 60,961 new claims into the RTA portal. That's a small increase of 1.2% over May's level. Hence we can see the similar height of the 2 bars to the right of the graph above.

As was the case when we looked at the data for May, this is the lowest June number of new claims since the RTA portal gained maturity, apart from June 2013 when levels fell after the LASPO-induced period of great activity on the part of claimant lawyers in submitting new claims which had been seen a couple of months earlier.

A similar position with lower volumes being seen than in previous years had also been a factor in the data analysed in both March and April of this year as well.

The new claims data for June 2017 was lower than that seen in June 2016 by 12.4%, lower than in June 2015 by 13.5% and lower again than June 2014 by 8.5%.

New RTA claims – time weighted

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If we weight the data for the number of working days per month, then we need to take account of the fact that there were 22 in June as opposed to 21 in May, an increase of 4.8% in working hours in effect.

The small increased volume of 1.2% is of course rather less than the extra time available to claimant operations to lodge CNFs. In effect, adjusting for the extra time in June, there was a net monthly decrease in volumes of 3.4% as between May and June.

These are the first 4 months over the period spanned by the graph above where there have consecutive monthly levels of new RTA claims per working day of less than 3,000.

Adjusting in this way for the number of working days shows a month on month decreasing pattern as between January and September 2016, then again from November 2016 to date. Indeed, since January 2017 there has been 5 successive monthly falls.

New RTA claims assessed over longer term

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Looking at the 12 month cumulative data in order to assess longer term trends, the level has fallen this month from 771,278 to 762,281, a decrease of 1.2%. This is entirely in line with the remainder of 2017 where we have seen an average monthly fall of precisely that same amount in the earlier part of the year.

We have now seen falls in this measurement over 20 of the last 22 months.

Over the last 12 months, the cumulative level has fallen 10.7%, as compared with 2.1% over the preceding 12 months, so this may suggest that the rate of decline seems to be marginally increasing.

Last month when looking at the May data we saw that the level then reached was effectively identical to the post-LASPO low point of 771,709 which had been seen in April 2014. This month we note a level 1.2% below April 2014.

Comparison with annual data

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Looking at financial years through to the end of March, in 2016/17 there were 797,067 new RTA portal claims, a monthly average of 66,422.

After the first 3 months of 2016/17, that is April through to June, the monthly average stood at 69,012.

After the first 3 months of 2017/18, the monthly average now stands at 57,740. If volumes continue at this rate than the annual total would be 692,880, which in turn would be lower than last year by 13%.

This analysis can be refined as the year progresses. When carrying out the same exercise last month the data then pointed towards a year on year decrease of 15%. That figure has become 13% over the course of a month.

New casualty claims in June

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The numbers of new PL and EL claims were both very similar to the previous month as shown on the preceding graph. But the increase in working days by 4.8% which we saw in the case of RTA claims suggests a net decrease with both.

New PL claims

There were 5,036 new PL claims in June, a decrease of 0.9% over May. This becomes a net drop of 5.4% when account is taken of the longer working month of June.

Looking back at previous months of June, this is a fall of 10.7% from the level seen in June 2016, 21.3% lower than in June 2015 and 19.2% less than in June 2014.

New EL claims

June saw 4,013 new EL claims, a drop of 2.0% from May. Taking into account the extra working days in June, this is equivalent to a net decrease of 6.7%.

Comparing to the same month in previous years, this level is 4.3% lower than in June 2016, 15.0% less than in June 2015, and 1.3% below the June 2014 level.

New EL disease claims

There were 921 new claims to the EL disease portal in June, a rise of 14.1% over May. Adjusting for the extra working days reduces this level of increase to a net level of 8.9%.

Comparing though to the month of June in previous years there is the same pattern of decreases. The level last month was 7.9% lower than in June 2016, as much as 53.4% less than in June 2015, and 32.0% below June 2014.

New casualty claims assessed over longer term

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When we measure over a longer period, while we had asked previously whether there were increasing signs of stable volumes in EL and perhaps PL too, the trends this month continue to be downwards.

PL claims

Measuring over the preceding 12 months, the current level is 60,923, a decrease of 1.0% compared to last month. This means that 23 of the last 24 months have shown decreases.

Compared to the position in June 2016, the current level is 11.4% lower, while looking back a further 12 months to June 2015 had seen a fall of 10.8%.

EL claims

The comparative figure of new claims made over the preceding 12 months is 48,440, a decrease of 0.4% over the month. We have seen falls in 14 out of the last 18 months. In the last 4 months, we have seen deceases in 2 months, but increases in the other 2.

If we look back 12 months to June 2016, we have seen the level fall 6.6%over that period, while there was a 4.3% decrease over the preceding 12 months.

EL trends continue to be less negative than PL, and are closer to though not yet achieving stability.

EL disease claims

Measuring over the previous 12 months, there have been 9,926 new EL disease claims into this portal. That is the first time since May 2014 that this number has fallen into 4 figures. This is a drop of 0.8% over the month. It is the 18th consecutive monthly decrease.

Looking back 12 months, we are now at a level with EL disease claims which are 40.7% lower than then, while over the preceding 12 months there had been a decrease of 23.9%

Retention rates

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This month shows decreasing retention rates in RTA and EL, the 2 portals with traditionally the highest rates, but improving rates for PL and EL disease.

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Longer term trends continue to be gradually upwards in all 3 casualty portals, with the EL disease level having reached 10%. This though only means that 1 in 10 claims of that type conclude in that portal.

The longer term RTA rate remains stable, though very marginally downwards towards 50%. 1 in 2 claims of that type are recorded as concluding within its processes, in other words settling at stage 2 or concluding as to quantum at stage 3.

RTA stage 3 usage and quantum levels

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Stage 3

In June 6,540 claims went as far as preparing a court pack as a prelude to use of stage 3. That was the 2nd highest level ever, and an increase of 2.7% over the month.

The graph above shows that there have been some months in late 2016/early 2017 when the continuance of the generally upward trend seen from 2013 through to 2016 seems to have been in doubt. The trend over the last 4 months has shown a resumption of the earlier trend.

PSLA quantum levels

This fell £20 last month to £2,769. This was the 2nd consecutive decrease after 5 months of consecutive increases.

We remain at a level 3.9% over where the figure stood 12 months ago, which itself was 3.8% over that prevailing a further 12 months back.

Since November 2015 when the effects of the 13th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines started to be felt, the increase has been 7.9%.

The 14th edition are expected to be published by Oxford University Press on or around 14 September this year.

Casualty stage 3 usage and quantum levels

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Stage 3

In relative terms stage 3 usage was high in the PL and especially the EL portal last month.

As to PL, 72 claims proceeded to court pack, a decrease of 5. But this was still the 5th highest month to date.

In the case of EL, no fewer than 90 matters proceeded to that stage, an increase of 27 over the preceding month, and easily the highest level ever. The EL portal overtook the PL portal for production of court packs last month.

With EL disease ploughing its own furrow, 1 matter proceeded that far in June.

PSLA quantum levels

With PL, the average PSLA level rose £275 in June to £4,295, the highest ever.

The increase over the last 12 months has been 8.9%, and over the preceding 12 months it was 8.7%. Since November 2015 when the effects of the 13th edition of the JCG were being felt, there has been a rise of 12.8%.

As to EL, the average in June was £4,226, an increase of £118.

Over the last 12 months the increase has been 4.9%, while over the preceding 12 months it was 13.7%. Since November 2015 the level has increased by 9.8%.

With EL disease, the average PSLA level rose in June by £311 to £3,519.

Over the last 12 months there has been a fall of 10.0%, over the preceding 12 months there was a decrease of 17.6%. Since November 2015 the decrease has been 11.9%.

As before, the limited use of the EL disease portal does not produce reliable statistics beyond demonstrating use of a process which is essentially unsuitable as it currently stands for that type of claim.

Comparative use of stages 2 and 3

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The trend for RTA has returned to upwards. Currently around 30% of RTA cases which settle do so at stage 3 as compared to stage 2.

EL use of stage 3 has risen to its highest, around 15%, while PL remains currently above 10%.

Settled claims

RTA Claims

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In June 16,024 RTA claims settled at stage 3, an increase of 4.7% in the month. The position has recovered in the last 2 months after the record low seen in April. The number remains affected by greater use of stage 3.

Casualty claims

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In June, 603 PL claims settled at stage 2, a fall on the month of 5.8%, while 630 EL claims did so, essentially the same as the preceding month. The position over the last 3 months has varied much as it has with RTA claims. The numbers are affected too by greater use of stage 3, though not to the same extent as with RTA claims.

EL disease saw 44 cases settle at stage 2, the same as last month.

Contact

For more information please contact Simon Denyer, Partner on +44 (0)161 604 1551 or email simon.denyer@dwf.co.uk

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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.

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