The alternative business structure (ABS) owned by global insurance services firm Crawford & Company is expanding into Australia after buying up a leading defendant practice in the country.
HBA Group is joining Crawford Legal Services (CLS), which became an ABS in 2016 and forms part of the self-described “world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions to carriers, brokers and corporates”.
HBA Group comprises HBA Legal, a law firm working with the insurance industry across Australia and the London market, claims management business Paratus, and Pillion, a legal process and technology provider.
In a statement to the New York Stock Exchange, Crawford said CLS would now be “a leading legal services partner to clients across Australia, providing a unique and disruptive business-to-business integrated claims and legal model for the Australian legal and insurance markets”.
Crawford president Joseph Blanco – who was formerly the company’s general counsel, said: “We see significant opportunity to expand our legal service capabilities in Australia. With its market standing, geographical reach and depth of expertise, HBA Group provides a fantastic platform…
“Since the launch of Crawford Legal Services in the UK in 2016, we have gained huge market traction by providing a powerful connected legal service and highly cost-efficient solution to our clients.”
Brett Ablong, managing director of HBA Group, added: “Becoming part of CLS and in turn the broader Crawford group creates huge potential for us to take HBA Legal to the next level for our people and clients…
“Our clients will also be able to access the full range of services available in Crawford for a connected claims service that no traditional law firm can provide. I believe the possibilities are endless.”
CLS unveiled significant expansion earlier this year, adding offices in Leeds and Birmingham to its existing presence in Liverpool and Manchester, where it had 40 staff.
CLS managing director Jason Spencer said that being an ABS while “fully embedded” within Crawford UK “enables us to offer a unique operating and commercial model, to develop highly customer-focused solutions and provide a fully integrated single-supplier service”.