We speak to head of digital Ben Parsons and fraud partner Damian Rourke about the work that Clyde & Co has done with Luminance to automate the review of incoming casualty claims, enabling it to speed up the time to either settle or dispute a claim.
In February 2022, we revealed that Luminance had signed a seven-figure, multi-year subscription deal with a global law firm, which we can now reveal is Clyde & Co. The UK top 50 firm last year partnered with Luminance to create an AI-powered claims handling system, which in June was announced as runner up in The Lawyer Awards best technology product category.
The ‘journey’ to get here began five years ago, when Clyde & Co was asked by one of its large casualty clients to do a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch of its technology products. At the time, the UK top 50 firm didn’t have any. Damian Rourke, a partner in the fraud team, on the casualty side at Clyde & Co only half joked when he told Legal IT Insider: “It was problematic. We got some Excel spreadsheets and turned them into products in the hope that no-one noticed they were awful. They were fraud detection and a costs calculator and we got down to the final two products, the client liked it but couldn’t implement it because it was Excel based and had no version control.”
Rourke and head of digital Ben Parsons began to look at whether, and how, Clyde & Co could leverage technology to help its casualty practice extract, analyse, and potentially put a workflow around key information from incoming medical insurance claims, to speed up the time to either settle or dispute a claim.
The team started to look at the work they could do leveraging APIs to pull data from the Official Injury Claim Portal and Ministry of Justice Claim Portal. Rourke says: “While we could pull data from the portal electronically, there is so much unstructured data that you need to be able to read and extract.”
The firm decided, Rourke says, that a failure to invest in OCR technology would be nothing less than an existential threat. However, the first toe it dipped in the water was a template-based approach and Rourke said: “The problem was that the reports we wanted to read aren’t that pro forma and it only worked 50% of the time if we were lucky.”
Clyde & Co went back to the market and looked for alternatives. What stood Luminance apart, Rourke says, was the fact that it is concept rather than template based, and that it was quick to use. Rourke says: “The other system we looked at wanted 50 examples from medical reports to train it. Luminance just said, ‘Give us the report.’ As you go along you train it from positive and negative examples, so teaching it concepts is quicker.”
Having selected Luminance in early 2022, the team have been using it to extract complex information such as injury prognosis, whether the claimant was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident and whether they had to take time off work.
Parsons says: “Some doctors give a prognosis from the accident and some from the report, which is an important difference. We’ve taught the system to differentiate between the two so that so we can put valuations against it and automate processes that have been manual to date.”
Around Luminance, Clyde & Co has worked with Microsoft to build a decision engine that looks at Clyde & Co’s own data around historic decision making, plus the Judicial College Guidelines for assessing a claim for damages.
Parsons and Rourke estimate that they now automate the review of around 79% of medical reports.
Rourke said: “Bear in mind that there are thousands of claims, and the ability to reduce time but also systemise the process is of huge value. The data that we collect is often not information that is recorded but now we capture the data we’re in a position to provide advise on it collectively.”
The firm is now looking at other applications of the technology and Parsons said: “There are other things we’re looking at outside of casualty work such as helping the finance team to automate some of their processes. In the US, asbestos cases are massive, and we are supporting our US colleagues with that.”