Two years on from the launch of the RTA Portal, Claimant Solicitors across the country are preparing for ‘Release 2′.
This is the second instalment of changes to the portal since its inception in April 2010.
Release 2, which is due to go-live on the 25th September 2012 is probably the most significant to date consisting of seventeen changes ranging from small fixes to new workflow processes.
The RTA portal has become an essential part of the low value personal injury process. A recent publication indicates over 2800 Claimant Representatives are registered users. With so many organisations using the RTA portal, the following article highlights what is changing in Release 2 and considers the effect on Claimant Solicitors internal systems and processes.
What is changing?
Release 2 is probably the largest series of amendments to the RTA portal to date. The most significant changes can be grouped in three main areas; the Stage 2 Settlement process, Interim process and how additional damages are managed in the portal.
Stage 2 sees changes which help plug gaps in the portals functionality and removes some longstanding workarounds. The portal will now automatically extend the negotiation period where offers are made in the last five days by either side. As Dan Boon a team leader at Bott and Co notes, “This should replace previous workarounds and also remove confusion around the timeout expiry”. The portal will also be correctly aligned to handle minor cases, allowing them to proceed automatically to the Court Proceedings stage at the end of Stage 2.
Release 2 is probably the largest series of amendments to the RTA portal to date
The Interim payment process has been brought into closer alignment with the pre action protocol rules. Interim requests will require claimants to identify items being pursued on the interim settlement pack request. New timeout rules have been added allowing defendants to extend the time they have to deal with an interim request, for instance to investigate CRU. There is also a facility for defendants to reject interim requests where appropriate.
Release 2 introduces workflow for additional damages, previously overlooked in the initial portal build. The process now allows the Stage 2 Settlement pack to be amended with details of additional damages. Previously it was not possible for a claimant representative to insert details in the Stage 2 Settlement Pack after it had been agreed.
A full summary of portal changes can be found here. Some of the most notable are summarised below:
- Workflow amended to reflect no Stage 1 costs for Minor and Liability Admitted with Neg claims.
- New Exit reason for Claimants where Stage 1 payment not received in time.
- Child claim workflow amended so settled claims also progress to Court Proceedings stage.
- New timeout rules for the Interim Settlement Pack Decision for the insurer.
- Automatic extension of the Stage 2 Settlement Pack negotiation period.
- New functionality for Insurers to reject Interim Settlement requests.
- Validation to ensure Interim Settlement Pack General Damages always present.
- Notifications sent for Liability Decision and for Stage 2 counter offer.
- New Additional Damages Process.
- Minor form changes to fields and layout.
With release 2 boasting a significant number of amendments, organisations will need to consider the effect these changes will have on their internal systems and processes. RTA portal users can be split into two types; Web User interface (WebUI) users, who interact with the portal directly and A2A users, who access the portal via application to application (A2A) integration with their own systems. Both will be impacted by the portal changes albeit in slightly different ways.
The main impact for WebUI organisations will be the need to train users on what has changed in Release 2
Web UI Users
Organisations using WebUI rely directly on the portal functionality to process claims online. This includes inputting data, checking for notifications and managing claims via their online worklist. Therefore, such organisations will not necessarily require a great amount of technical amendment to their systems unless they have other internal processes which they rely.
The main impact for WebUI organisations will be the need to train users on what has changed in Release 2. Users will quickly discover their worklist summary contains new descriptions such as ‘AcknowledgeLiabilityForChild’ or ‘AcknowledgeRejectedInterimSettlementPack’. Making users aware of what is changing will be an important first step, closely followed by detailed training. The Rapid Claim Settlement portal has a training login for those organisations that have registered. It seems logical that your organisation makes best use of this facility to prepare users in the weeks preceding the go live date.
A2A users have developed integration internally or have an integration module from a software provider which allows them to interact with the RTA portal via their existing case management systems. As a result, technical changes to the RTA portal such as those presented by release 2 need to be developed in line with the release 2 technical specifications. Developers and software houses will need to implement no fewer than 17 new workflow phases to accommodate the changes to the portal workflow. The technical specifications necessary to build the changes were released at the end of June giving developers reasonable time period to implement the changes. However, it is important to note that in addition to the integration Claimant Representatives that use A2A will also need to prepare their internal workflow process and coordinate any necessary training.
For those familiar with the portal from its launch, Release 2 offers a welcome solution to some of the niggling issues which have required workarounds at certain stages of the process. It is important that your organisation has started to prepare for the changes. Although this can come with some technical and procedural impact to your organisation, it is important to note that the changes focus on bringing the portal into closer alignment with the ‘RTA PI Low Value claims Pre Action Protocol’ and in doing so should help both Claimants and Defendants to process claims more efficiently at the ultimate benefit to the injured claimant.