UK: The Streamlined Market - Electronic Claims Files

Last Updated: 5 July 2007
Article by Colin Croly and David Abbott

After some false starts the market is embracing electronic platforms. RI3K is reported to be handling an increasing amount of business, and the G6 Group at Lloyd's is going live with its "peer to peer" electronic system.

Initially, the focus was on placing, however it has been recognised that dealing with claims electronically can also increase efficiency of the claims process. As well as reducing the need to take claim files around the market manually, if underwriters can simultaneously review claims electronically the process will speed up. The Electronic Claims File (ECF) system provides Lloyd's managing agents with a single integrated service to manage the process for agreeing claims and storing claims-related documents.

ECF is the combination of the Insurers Market Repository (IMR) and Claims Management Agreement & Settlement (CLASS). This enables claims file documents to be submitted electronically and shared by subscribing insurers, whilst CLASS provides users with access to financial data and claims processing. ECF allows brokers to supply the claims files to all insurers on risk, electronically, at the same time. In order to participate, managing agents and brokers must agree the Repository Rules (the Rules). The Rules govern the parties' agreement to transact claims electronically with each other without the use of paper files. A party who has agreed the Rules may process electronic claims with any other party who has also agreed the Rules, meaning that each organisation only has to agree the Rules once. The Rules cannot be amended or tailored to suit individual organisations.

The Rules grant, in relation to each document lodged on ECF, a non-exclusive perpetual worldwide licence to each user to view, access, copy or otherwise use that document in the ordinary course of business. This is necessary as, in electronic systems such as ECF, access to documents needs to be wide in order to prevent the business process being stalled by legal wrangles.

The Rules highlight that the ECF is to be the insurers' file. This will almost certainly be a step forward for the Lloyd's market. It enables insurers to keep all documents shown to them. As it is the insurers' file, the documents are within their control. They may, therefore, be used and disclosed by the insurers if any dispute arises. Previously, if brokers (the agents of the insured) kept the documents, there would often be an issue as to how underwriters would obtain those documents. Although in Goshawk v Tyser (2006) it was confirmed that there is an implied term that the insurers can see all claims and premium accounting documents that have been previously shown to them, difficulties and uncertainty can still arise in the process of obtaining documents. The Rules should cut through this by giving ownership of the file to insurers and placing the documents within their reach.

Generally speaking, privilege will be maintained where a document has obviously been disclosed by mistake. The Rules reinforce the maintenance of privilege (where it exists) and confidentiality and give the right to prevent further disclosure.

The Rules state that where any document which is privileged or confidential becomes viewable due to an IMR system failure and would not otherwise be viewable but for that failure, it is agreed that no confidentiality or privilege in that document is waived by reason of that failure. Further access to that document may be denied. Also, where a document has been mistakenly lodged, the Rules state there is no waiver of privilege or confidence and again, further access to that document can be restricted.

However, although documents may be kept out of court or arbitration, real confidentiality vis ŕ vis those who saw the document would be lost. It goes without saying that access to documents (such as lawyers' reports) which are for the insurers' eyes only must be restricted.

On occasion, the interests of the insurers on a risk may divide, either through disagreement or the merits of their legal position may differ. In those circumstances it would seem unworkable that the insurers share the same system. The ECF Systems Processes and Procedures guide, which explains the workings of the system, rightly suggests that in those circumstances a return to paper be made.

The Rules also address the potential problem that, when the insurer provides its response to a claim, the response buttons selected by an underwriter using ECF do not match the response code received by brokers. Sensibly, the Rules dictate that underwriters will comment in the 'public comments field' provided, confirming the nature of their response and describing any action to be taken. They also dictate that users should respond based on those comments and not simply the basis of any response code received. This raises an important point: electronic systems which rely only on codes to indicate responses pose potential danger of confusion. Such action could set off a whole chain of responses with legal consequences. Enforcing clarity in this way should ensure that there is less likelihood of a dispute arising in this area. In addition, it is important for the insurer to record reasons for its actions, should it become necessary, pursuant to a follow settlements clause for example, to justify those actions to its reinsurers.

ECF, via the Rules, also seeks to clarify who has seen what and when. It makes clear that a document must be lodged in a certain way with the appropriate references or it will be taken that the recipient does not have notice of that document. Conversely, where a document is lodged in the correct manner, the underwriter or recipient cannot claim that they have not received that document by virtue of not having read it. If documents are not to be scratched there must be some means of determining whether they have been read. This seems the only practical solution. However, in all electronic systems there is a danger of the insurer receiving a "data dump" which seeks to overwhelm it with information. In any dispute the fact that an insurer has been swamped with information is not likely to be looked upon favourably by a court or panel and may lead to the presumption that a particular document has been read under pressure. For certainty, important information (helpful or not) should be highlighted.

Importantly, ECF provides a repository of documentation which shows what has been shown to the insurer and details the claims process precisely. An increase in evidential certainty means the parties are more able to rely upon and have certainty in their contract. The benefit of electronic document retention will certainly be felt if a dispute occurs. Also, it is likely in any dispute that an order for disclosure of electronic documents will be made if those documents are not disclosed voluntarily. If those documents are hard to retrieve (for example they are on corrupted back-up files) the process can be extremely expensive for the retrieving party. Storage in ECF negates this possibility. Further clarity from electronic evidence can also be provided by the width of disclosure which may embrace metadata, which is the information behind an electronic document (such as previous amendments, time of production, formulae behind Excel spreadsheets and so on).

The ECF system has been recognised by Lloyd's as something which must happen. It will assist in bringing certainty and efficiency to the market. There may well be wrinkles, but as long as all parties are aware of and willing to work around them and their practical and legal ramifications, they should be ironed out.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.