ACSO and ABI statement of intent set aside as pandemic impact subsides

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The Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have announced that the package of temporary measures put in place to enable more timely resolution of disputes during the Covid pandemic expired last week.

Both bodies have agreed that the contents of the ABI/ACSO statement of intent, first published in April 2020, are either now common practice or no longer necessary given improving news on infection rates, the success of the vaccine programme, changed ways of working and the impact of the government’s Civil Liability Act reforms.

Remote medical examinations remain the norm for claimants, while remote rehabilitation continues to be accepted by most compensators on a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, payments are now routinely being paid by BACS, not by cheque as was often the situation previously.

The other measures, aimed at giving claimant firms and compensators more time and flexibility in the claims process as they tackled the impact of the pandemic, are now seen as increasingly superfluous as the national picture continues to improve. 

Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO, said: “The ABI/ACSO statement of intent was always intended to be temporary, but it’s welcome that many of its very sensible and consumer-friendly measures have now become part of business as usual.”

“That the agreement lasted so long is as a result not just of the length of the pandemic but also the spirit of partnership we fostered in a sector not always known for close co-operation.”

“We look forward to working together more with our insurer colleagues on shared consumer issues such as encouraging alternative dispute resolution, tackling fraud and working to make sure that regulation is proportionate and fair.”

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “During these unprecedented times, it was more imperative than ever that insurers and claimant firms collaborated to ensure that consumers could continue to resolve their claims.” 

“Even though the statement of intent is being concluded, we are pleased that many of the measures put in place have become embedded practices which will benefit consumers. It has demonstrated that positive engagement between insurers and claimant firms can be beneficial to everyone, and we hope that it will lay the foundations for future collaboration.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk