ISO Launches Benchmarking Service to Address Increasingly Complex Whiplash Claims

  • ISO research shows at least 50 percent of whiplash claims are not straightforward "pure whiplash" claims
  • New Whiplash Benchmarking Service to address insurers' handling of whiplash claims to highlight training, processing and technology requirements and changes in market behavior

LONDON, Nov. 4, 2003 — Insurance Services Office (ISO) Limited, the U.K.'s leading provider of personal injury claims and antifraud insurance services and solutions, has launched a benchmarking service for insurance companies to assess their handling of whiplash claims. According to Thatcham, the U.K. Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, whiplash claims are costing U.K. insurers £1.6 billion each year.

Data monitor research also shows that of the 600,000 personal injury claims every year, 80 percent involve whiplash. For motor insurers, this percentage can rise as high as 90 percent. ISO's extensive analysis and research show whiplash claims are becoming more complicated and at least 50 percent of those claims are no longer "pure whiplash" claims.

ISO's new Whiplash Benchmarking Service applies the powerful business intelligence capabilities of the ISO Claims Outcome AdvisorTM (COATM)solution and enables insurers to see how their whiplash claims compare with industry benchmarks and impact their profitability. Insurers can use ISO's new service to assess the training, processes and technical requirements for claims handlers, and spot trends to deal with claims more effectively. This, in turn, enables claims tobe settled consistently and quickly, benefiting both insurers and claimants.

"Industrywide, insurers have been subject to a proliferation of whiplash claims. This has resulted in attempts by insurers to bring consistency to the payments they make to claimants, which in turn has seen the scope of claimants' injuries and complications increase," said Mark Strang, account executive, ISO. "Consequently, there is no longer such a thing as a simple 'pure whiplash' book of claims as medical reports increasingly include contusions, fibromyalgia, aggravation of preexisting conditions, accelerated onset of symptoms and other medical conditions. These increasingly complex whiplash claims can no longer be managed by a 'one settlement fits all' approach. Insurers need to assess their handling of whiplash claims and the cost to their business."

Making the right offer first time
"Many insurers use predetermined payout scales or software that generates a general damages amount to assess whiplash claims. Insurers using simple methods may not be achieving expected reductions in overpayments because fewer claims will neatly fit into the predefined scales or software categories. Our customers have found that a better understanding of the injury enables them to make a more accurate claim offer. Offers that are too low are more likely to go to court and end up with higher legal fees. Offers that are too high represent pure leakage. Getting the claim settled as quickly and consistently as possible is in everyone's interest. Arming insurers with more information can only help this process," Mark Strang continued.

"Our COA customers are already able to do this by using the solution to spot trends in personal injury claims management. We're now offering the power of COA and the Whiplash Benchmarking Service to insurance companies for the first time, so they can assess the impact of whiplash claims on their business. By auditing claims and their settlements, insurers are able to assess the likely effect on their business and spot trends going forward.

"More and more companies are taking up the offer of a closed claim study. From a detailed analysis of a representative sample of settled claims, COA can graphically display the current level of consistency within their organizations. The benchmarking service also helps insurers to position themselves in the marketplace. This is often an eye-opening exercise for insurance companies, providing an insight into the performance of their claims-management practices," added Mark Strang.

About Claims Outcome AdvisorTM (COATM)
ISO Claims Outcome AdvisorTM (COATM)is the industry's first personal injury claims management solution that manages the multiple dimensions of insurance companies' personal injury claims portfolios. Using internationally recognized ICD medical codes, COA understands the severity and recovery implications of over 20,000 medical conditions, including injuries, treatments,complications and preexisting conditions, and 14,000 occupations. COA helps claims handlers, managers and actuaries manage the unique and complex medical, legal and occupational issues presented by personal injury claims, and helps ensure appropriate financial arrangements are agreed and implemented. Claims handlers can manage all aspects of a case from first notice of loss to return-to-work plans,rehabilitation and damages.

About ISO
ISO is a leading source of information, products and services related to property and liability risk. For a broad spectrum of commercial and personal lines of insurance, ISO provides data, analytical and decision-support products; consulting; data processing; and technical, statistical and actuarial services. ISO field services include on-site rating and underwriting services and the evaluation of community loss-mitigation efforts. ISO's products help customers with sales and prospecting, underwriting, rating and quoting, customer management, policy administration, product development, claims administration and fraud detection. ISO's AIR Worldwide subsidiary provides technologies to assess and manage natural and man-made extreme-event risk. Through its ISO Claims Services, Inc. (iiX unit) and Intellicorp subsidiaries, ISO provides motor vehicle reports and criminal-records information and through its AscendantOne unit delivers rating, quoting and policy-administration solutions. In the United States and around the world, ISO serves insurers, reinsurers, agents, brokers, self-insureds, risk managers, insurance regulators and other government agencies.

Release: Immediate

Contacts:
Giuseppe Barone / Erica Helton
MWW Group (for ISO)
201-507-9500
gbarone@mww.com / ehelton@mww.com

Mark Strang (COA U.K.)
Tel: 01252 761055
mstrang@iso.com

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