In the first of a periodic series from the Drive Further senior management team, we asked Jody Litt, Claims Manager at MSL, for her take on the last 12 months and what she envisages for the business in 2018…

The government’s personal injury (PI) reforms have been the dominant issue for our sector during 2017, despite that fact that the government has yet to publish a Bill. We are also still awaiting the second part of the MoJ’s PI consultation, which includes a call for evidence on credit hire. There’s no word on when that is due to be published.

As MSL is a progressive business that likes to think ahead we have been trialling small PI claims in-house to gauge how we cope with handling this type of claim, and to test whether we could expand our responsibilities beyond our credit hire specialism.

At the moment we hand off the PI element of the claim to solicitors, but we trained an experienced member of the team to manage the process ourselves.

Our early experience was quite challenging, especially helping clients to work their way though the process, which can be onerous. Drop out rates are higher than I anticipated, partly because clients are required to fill in plenty of forms and go and see a medical expert.

If the reforms do become law, I expect that we’ll restructure to broaden our services, most likely through upskilling and training the existing team of professionals who currently deal with credit hire.

Our plan is to grow the business organically by increasing the breadth of services we offer our customers and fulfil the terms of their legal expenses policy.

We’ll be following the government’s reform agenda closely of course, but in the meantime broadening our client base next year is the top priority. There are opportunities for growth in credit hire, especially in our specialist market of taxi and driving instructor, where we offer fault as well as non-fault services.

It is critical to keep their down time – when the vehicle is off the road – as short as possible, because if they aren’t driving they’re not earning. We also believe we can stretch our brand into the fleet sector and also delivery drivers. The target for us is to double our market size in turnover terms.

Credit hire is a tight margin business so volume is an important part of our growth, but given that most of our competitors operate at broadly similar margins, customer service is absolutely critical, for example at FNOL, when the customer journey begins.

Almost 100% of our business is intermediated, via a legal expenses policy, although we do some direct distribution through our partnerships with insurers.

About Jody

Jody has been MSL’s claims manager for over seven years, overseeing the motor claims department including credit hire. She began her career at Direct Line Insurance in 1994, gaining experience in all types of motor claims before joining Esure in 2000, leading the insurer’s personal injury team. Jody also spent three years at Manchester Solicitors Antony Hodari & Co, as leader of the small track claims department, before joining MSL in 2010.

As a seasonal extra, we asked Jody to give us the lowdown on her ideal Christmas…

White Christmas or Christmas on the beach?

“I would usually always go with the beach, but at Christmas it has to be a white one.”

Turkey with all the trimmings or Christmas veggie special?

“Turkey with all the trimmings.”

Out and about with friends or family Christmas at home?

“A family Christmas but this year we are spending it in France at my parent’s house.”

Lots of little presents or one big one?

“Lots of little presents, I like spending time opening them!”

Favourite Christmas tipple?

“Champagne for breakfast, wine with lunch, cocktails in the evening!”

Favourite Christmas song?

“The Pogues – Fairytale of New York!”

Christmas Pudding or Christmas Cake?

“Neither!”

Your number one wish for 2018?

“My daughter to start listening!”

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