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Jockeying for position

One of this year's biggest personal injury stories is likely to be the creation of independent medical panels. This month, we report on the formation of an MOJ working group that's the hottest ticket in town. 

Not since Prime Minister David Cameron's Valentine 's Day 2012 'Whiplash Summit' at Number 10 has there been so many column inches devoted to the issue of who will be sitting in on the latest policy think tank on personal injury.

The Ministry of Justice's cross-industry Working Group charged with establishing the remit of medical panels and reducing bogus whiplash claims, has had insurers and lawyers placing their hats in the ring this month, all of whom are keen to influence proceedings. At the heart of things is the desire to iron out plans for Independent Medical Panels before the summer recess in July. 

According to reports, insurers were particularly keen to register their interest in joining the Working Group, so that they can oppose an idea floated by Apil and Mass that the medical panels should preside solely over road traffic accident whiplash claims valued up to £5000.

The Association of British Insurers promptly got in on the debate and suggested a system that mirrors the RTA portal, covering cases of up to £25 000. However, Mike Curley, head of claims assurance at RSA, appeared to be keen on a compromise otherwise the timetable could be scuppered: "The focus over the next few months must be to work with everyone involved to see what we can achieve," he said. "The minister has been clear that we should not, at this stage, get hung up on defining the scope of any scheme."