Covid-19: ACSO and ABI strike agreement on examinations

Insurers, law firms and key suppliers agreed a statement of intent designed to maintain the personal injury claims process through the Covid-19 crisis, as the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealed that its members expect to pay out more than £1.2 billion to support affected businesses and individuals.

The statement, brokered by the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) and the ABI, recommends undertaking many non-MedCo medical examinations by remote video examination. It has also been agreed for many claims that rehabilitation (both physiotherapy and psychotherapy) can be done remotely. All other cases of rehabilitation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

MedCo, the body responsible for overseeing medical reporting, confirmed at the end of March that remote video medical consultations would be acceptable subject to adherence to their guidance, but the ACSO/ABI statement now extends this to medical reports that fall outside MedCo’s remit.

Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director at ACSO, welcomed the statement as a vital step in ensuring injured people can access treatment during the crisis period. He said: “The onus is on insurers, claimant firms and the supply chain to help keep the wheels of justice turning at this difficult time so that injured people can get the medico-legal examinations and rehabilitation treatment they need.”

“The more our industry can do on a shared, constructive basis the less pressure there will be on the NHS and the courts.”   

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “ABI members are committed to giving extra support and reassurance to customers and claimants during this difficult time. This is further evidence of the ability of ABI and ACSO members to work together on practical solutions through this unprecedented event.”

The ABI struck a similar agreement with Thompsons Solicitors to protect access to justice. So far, it has been adopted by 279 law firms and 38 insurance companies. Following a joint review, Coronavirus (Covid-19) Personal Injury Protocol has been extended until at least 20 May.

Insurers, meanwhile, expect to pay out more than £1.2 billion in claims to support businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19.

This estimate covers payments on business interruption, travel insurance, weddings policies and cancelled school trips. It forms part of the ABI’s response to the Treasury Select Committee and does not include claims made through Lloyd’s and the London market, which will be needed to provide a total figure for the UK market response.

Of the £1.2 billion working estimate, £900 million relates to business interruption claims, a record £275 million paid to customers in cancellation claims on travel insurance, and £25 million across wedding insurance, school trips and events. This is in addition to the estimated £363 million that will be paid to customers following Storms Ciara and Dennis earlier this year.