Insurer sidesteps ABS with new legal venture
Milliner: mutual values
LV= has created its legal offering to offer an extra service to its members and customers, rather than to make any great profit, its claims director has told Legal Futures.
LV= announced its new venture yesterday, which will be run in association with Bristol-based law firm Lyons Davidson, but it is not an alternative business structure (ABS), unlike all the other such arrangements between insurers and law firms.
Instead, the services are explicitly provided by Lyons Davidson, with Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd permitting the firm to use the LV= brand in doing so.
Martin Milliner said the insurer’s members had been asking for a legal service, which he attributed to an absence of a significant brand in the market that consumers recognised and trusted.
But LV= saw legal services as an added benefit “that fits our mutual values”, rather than a revenue stream, he said.
Just being a successful insurer was hard enough, Mr Milliner said, noting that that nobody had yet cracked being both a successful insurer and a successful law firm. This model also avoided further regulation via the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Some insurers had formed ABSs simply to protect income, he observed, while the collapse late last year of Parabis – which had ABS joint ventures in place – showed there were risks around such arrangements.
Mr Milliner added that LV= Legal Services, which will be rolling out self-service products in the coming weeks as well, was offering “very competitive” prices on what were low-margin services, such as around £120 for a basic will and £290 for a power of attorney.
To ensure quality was maintained, Lyons Davidson would be subject to independent monitoring and also monitoring by LV’s in-house legal team, he said.
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