The DWP have now released their annual CRU data for the 12 months till the end of March 2016. Along with the data from Claims Portal they are a worthwhile source of data to analyse when looking for current and future trends as to claims volumes.

The actual data

This is the DWP data for new claims notified to the CRU during the years in question:

Click here to view table.

Total new claims volumes

There has been a third year on year fall. This time, there were 981,324 new injury claims notified to CRU, a fall of 1.7% from the previous year. It is the third consecutive annual fall, though the rate of decline has slowed. It was 3% two years ago, and 2% last year.

The total number of new claims is now the lowest since the data has been collected in this format, though in reality the overall number of claims is remarkably stable, at around 1 million per year. The range between the highest and lowest number of total claims over those 6 years is less than 70,000 or 7%.

Over the period spanned by the data there were 3 year on year increases, till the recent pattern of 3 consecutive falls has become apparent, as shown by the higher line on this graph:

Click here to view graph.

RTA claims

Looking only at the CRU data, the number of new notified RTA claims has risen slightly, in fact by 1.2%, from 761,878 in 14/15 to 770,791 now. This breaks the previous pattern of 3 consecutive annual falls. And while the increase at 1.2% is small, it reverses the previous annual trend of annual falls of 1.5% last year and 6% the year before.

Comparison with portal RTA data

The graph below shows the other data currently available.

Click here to view graph.

As to the portal data, we do not yet have the data from that source for March. If though we extrapolate from the 11 months data we have from that source by assuming that in March there were the same number of new claims as there were in February (which may not be an unrealistic assumption), then in 2015/16 there will have been 860,629 new claims into the portal as opposed to 856,261 in 14/15. This would be an increase of 0.5%.

The difference in the level of claims as between the CRU data on the one hand, and from the portal on the other, continues to show the results of two different forms of measurement. 12 months ago, the portal RTA new claims number was around 95,000 higher than the CRU figure. If our predicted portal total is about right, then it will be around 90,000 higher than the CRU number this year.

One factor explaining part of the difference could be pre-med settlements which will need to be notified to CRU but may not enter the portal. There is the potential still for the double counting of CNFs, such as when the identity of a claimant law firm changes.

Whatever the explanation, a true comparison can only be done when comparing the data on a like for like basis. And on that basis the CRU figures are evidence of a continuing high volume of RTA claims, one in fact that has marginally increased over 12 months.

But the margins are fine, and we need March’s portal data to be sure on this. And we have seen from earlier portal data that on a 12 month rolling analysis, 4 out of the last 5 months have small a marginally decreasing trend. So the CRU data for 2016/17 should be expected to be affected accordingly.

Casualty claims

The next graph shows claims types recorded by the CRU beyond motor:

Click here to view graph.

PL claims

PL claims are down 7.4% over the year when compared to 14/15. The number has fallen from 100,072 to 92,709. This is the second consecutive annual fall, and the level of PL claims as recorded by the DWP is at its lowest over the 6 years of this form of measurement.

If we compare the number of PL claims entering the portal over the same period, and if as with RTA we then assume that the March 2016 portal figure (which we await) will be identical to the preceding month, then there will have been 70,461 new PL claims entering the portal in 15/16, a fall of 8.5% from the level of 77,002 in 14/15. An 8.5% fall when measured by the portal data is comparable with the 7.4% reduction seen by the CRU.

Unlike with RTA, there are more and not fewer PL claims being submitted to the CRU than entering the portal. The fact that it is not yet 3 years since the opening of the casualty portals will be relevant to that. It may also be the case that a larger proportion of RTA are worth under £25,000 and so required to enter the portal, than is the case with RTA claims.

EL claims

EL claims are down even more than PL, in fact by 16.3%, from 103,401 to 86,495. Again, this is the second consecutive annual fall. The level of EL claims has returned to 11/12 levels.

No easy comparison can be made with portal data in the case of EL, because EL claims as counted by the CRU include disease claims which of course are measured separately by the portal, when in fact those disease claims enter the portal in the first place.

Clinical negligence claims

Clinical negligence claims are also down, by 2.0% from 18,258 to 17,895, again a second consecutive annual fall, but still the third highest over the 6 year period that they are being measured in this way.

These claims of course do not enter any portal.

Settlements and levels of CRU recoveries

This data is also published by CRU. The number of settlements for RTA claims rose for 4 years but has now fallen for the second consecutive year. The portal data also shows a slowing settlement trend.

Click here to view graph.

And the CRU “take” from compensators is also falling, in RTA claims from just over £40m to just over £30m. The overall DWP recovery from compensators over the 6 years for which there is this form of data has fallen from £140m to £126m, or by 10%. This seems an ongoing decreasing trend that will be unwelcome to government.