4 October 2012
Law firm joins forces with seven other businesses to launch collision-to-settlement ABS
Car crash: single reference point for insurers
A new business that brings together a law firm with seven other service providers needed to manage a motor accident from collision to settlement has applied for alternative business structure (ABS) status, Legal Futures can report.
Concordance is a full accident-care service for road-users that aims to offer its outsourced model to insurers, brokers and vehicle manufacturers in the post-referral fee ban world.
It is an LLP with eight corporate partners, including Stockport law firm Reynards Legal, and was put together by Lucy Bonham Carter, a specialist in motor law and legal expenses insurance. The ABS application is for a claimant business, but Concordance chairman Conrad Murray said they are likely to establish an ABS to handle defendant work too.
The others partners are Activ8-Solutions, which provides legal expenses and other types of insurance and where Ms Bonham Carter is business development director; ARC Assist, a repairer network; software company Data Audit, which built Concordance’s claims system; Data Prospect, which handles data management and warehousing; Medexam, a medical and rehabilitation agency; Pinpoint Call Solutions, a Financial Services Authority-registered contact centre for client capture and product sales; and Vigilance Systems, an anti-fraud system.
Rather than have a credit hire business, Mr Murray said they aim to wrap a replacement car policy in with the legal expenses insurance. He said the key elements of the offering are having an integrated software system and anti-fraud checks, which has a database of 23m fraudulent insurance claims from the past 20 years.
He told Legal Futures that with most insurers shying away from becoming ABSs themselves, Concordance plans to work in joint ventures with insurers to share profit or, subject to clarification of the law, operate an offset model. Under this Concordance would handle an insurer’s claimant and defendant work; rather than sharing profit, it would reduce the insurer’s costs while making a profit for itself.
Ms Bonham Carter added: “Concordance is not constructed as a method to avoid referral fees but to operate as a single efficient structure… That means a single reference point for insurers and their policyholders to get seamless end-to-end service.”
Mr Murray acknowledged that the offering is similar to that being put together by Quindell Portfolio, which has also applied for ABS status after agreeing to acquire Liverpool law firm Silverbeck Rymer, but said it had been put together in a very different way. Rather than embarking on an acquisition spree like Quindell has, the collaborative LLP model has meant low start-up costs of around £300,000 and in time the eight businesses will become one.
By Neil Rose
Tags: ABS, Alternative business structures, personal injury, referral fees
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