The Government last published official Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) performance figures on the GOV.UK website in July of 2020.[i]
As we reported in edition 319 of BC Disease News (here), information obtained more recently by the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO), revealed that employers’ liability/public liability (EL/PL) registrations received by CRU, between July and September, had been ‘broadly flat on the previous quarter’, but were ‘well down compared to the same period last year’ and fundamentally showed little increase in activity since lockdown. It was hypothesised that this was because ‘many people are still working from home’.[ii]
Earlier this month, ACSO revealed that it had, once again, sought up-to-date claims data from CRU.[iii]
The Government responded to the Organisations’ freedom of information (FOI) request and disclosed that the near 173,000 personal injury claims registered with CRU between October and December represented a 23% decline (51,000) over the same period of 2019.
All in all, there were 27% fewer registrations in 2020 than in 2019 (618,000 down from 843,000).
Contributing towards this was a 24% annual drop in RTA claims, due to significantly less cars frequenting the roads during the pandemic. However, the fact that so many workers have made the shift to remote working may indeed be the reason why the most dramatic fall in registrations was braced by the EL category – a 45% annual decline (to 48,000 from 87,000).
Executive Director of ACSO, Matthew Maxwell Scott, was quoted as having stated that:
‘Covid has achieved over the course of 12 months what the government set out to do with its compensation reform programme’.
He considers that CRU figures should persuade the Government to exclude EL/PL claims from the small claims track to £2,000, in May, shifting focus solely onto the new system for small track RTA claims, under the value of £5,000.
Are COVID-19 infection claims ‘gathering momentum’?
In edition 319, we divulged that, as at 20 November, around 30 compensation claims for COVID-19 infection had been registered with CRU. Thompsons emerged as the dominant claims handling firm, with strong ties to trade unions.[iv] Claims were attracting claimants of both sexes, but disproportionately in the 50-59 age category.
Earlier this month, we submitted our own FOI request to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) on current volumes of COVID-19 infection claims acknowledged by CRU.
Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we can share this information with our readers and examine the data.
[i] Department for Work & Pensions, ‘Compensation Recovery Unit performance data’ (17 July 2020 GOV.UK) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compensation-recovery-unit-performance-data/compensation-recovery-unit-performance-data#number-of-cases-registered-to-cru> accessed 11 February 2021.
[ii] Neil Rose, ‘Number of motor claims stays low over last three months’ (20 October 2020 Litigation Futures) <https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/number-of-motor-claims-stays-low-over-last-three-months> accessed 21 December 2020.
[iii] ‘CRU data for 2020 confirms downward trend in injury claims. ACSO says: Insurers should hand back £35 savings now’ (5 February 2021 ACSO) <https://acso.org.uk/news/202102/cru-data-2020-confirms-downward-trend-injury-claims-acso-says-insurers-should-hand-back> accessed 11 February 2021.
[iv] Neil Rose, ‘Covid-related PI claims “gaining momentum”, warns defendant firm’ (17 December 2020 Litigation Futures) <https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/covid-related-claims-gaining-momentum-warns-defendant-firm> accessed 20 December 2020.