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A better PIPA model


Does it seem like everything is going up in price including your public liability insurance? The insurance market is a lot tighter today – higher premiums and upwards pressure on deductibles. Here’s one way you can save on claims fees but still get stellar results risks by choosing the right claims management specialist model.

Queensland Personal Injuries Proceedings Act claims (“PIPA”) claims can put you through a merry-go-round of paper pushing and mounting legal bills.   PIPA is a cumbersome pre-litigation process which was meant to reduce onerous court discovery and processes  and instead it created its own administrative monster. After you are served with a Notice of Claim there are prescribed responses and disclosure and all parties are mandated to participate in a Compulsory Conference. Many defendants and their insurers will appoint a solicitor to manage PIPAclaims to adhere to strict legislative time lines, much like a litigated claim.

In many ways the PIPA process has become worse than litigation, as the elongated and complex process is not suited to smaller claims (hence turning them into larger ones).  Because there are no real costs consequences many companies with little or no exposure are being joined to claims. The more parties, insurers and lawyers involved – the messier the claim becomes which can overly complicate otherwise clear-cut claims.

Did you know that you do not have to have a law firm to represent you as it is pre-proceedings i.e. before Court litigation?  As our team are all legally qualified, we have the expertise and experience to manage these Claims from the outset and represent you at the Compulsory Conference without the need for appointing external legal service providers.  Our PIPA solution is an extension of our model of an improved claim process incorporating early reporting of incidents (within 24hrs is ideal) and early intervention by a skilled legally qualified claim manager where appropriate. In addition, a disciplined claim regime with strong systems can assist in the identification and reduction of risk.

A recent PIPA claim under our management amply demonstrates the advantages of this model.  Our client was a cleaning company engaged to clean a shopping centre.  The claim centred around an injury to a customer who allegedly slipped on spilt coffee in a common area.  The three other respondents to the claim – the shopping centre owner,  shopping centre manager and the café tenancy all retained law firms.  

We conducted a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the incident including securing CCTV footage of the incident. The footage indicated that the spillage was within the café tenancy and not in the common area.   Notwithstanding the fact that the terms of our client’s contract did not extend into the café’s tendency the other parties and the claimant would not release our client from the claim so that we were required to prepare for, and attend, the Compulsory Conference.  At the conference were were able to rely on the footage and the terms of our client’s contract with the centre and ensure our client was released from the claim with a $nil contribution.  Not only did our client avoid the cost of contributing to the claim it also avoided unnecessary and significant expenditure on legal costs. 

There are many benefits to you in utilising our specialist services:

  • Legal bills will reduce significantly – lawyers are retained where they add value, normally high value or complex claims
  • Reduced investigation costs as we investigate the incident causes using existing client resources where possible
  • Smaller claims and costs will be resolved quickly rather than end up being pursued at higher administrative and legal costs.
  • Better outcomes driven by a clear strategy
  • Commercial and pragmatic approaches to liability issues.
  • Strategically utilisation of service providers for more complex claims

If you are interested in finding our more, contact Marianne Emerson, Senior Consultant, Corporate on 02 9287 1311 or 0418 506 642.


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