Here come the brands: AA applies for ABS licence…

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3 October 2012

AA: undecided whether to actually use its licence

The AA has applied for an alternative business structure (ABS) licence, Legal Futures can reveal.

However, the motoring giant said it has yet to decide for sure whether it will follow the example of Saga, which is owned by the same private equity company and today unveiled a new legal services offering.

The pair simultaneously launched legal document assembly websites two years ago, powered by Epoq, with Parabis sitting behind it. An AA spokesman said its site has proven “successful enough to encourage us” to investigate expanding the service.

In addition to personal injury work – which is currently distributed to a small panel of law firms by the AA’s insurance arm – a legal services offering would build on its share of the home insurance market, he said. “That makes the AA a pretty natural place for people to look for advice.”

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The spokesman emphasised that no decision has been taken beyond applying for the ABS licence, “but it opens the door for us should we decide to go further”.

The AA has 16m members and along with Saga was joint top for ‘customer favourability’ and for ‘satisfaction with service’ in a recent IPSOS Mori survey on corporate image.

It has been a strong supporter of government moves to crack down on legal claims for whiplash, saying that over the past two years, they have contributed to the biggest car insurance premium increases ever recorded by its British insurance premium index.

Speaking in May after the government’s whiplash summit, Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, called for a “clamp down on cold-call claims management and personally injury firms who have contributed to the growth of claims”.

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