Vamco has become the first accident management company to buy a law firm after being awarded an alternative business structure (ABS) licence.
The Surrey-based business has acquired Kingsley Law, previously part of the Nesbit Law Group.
Vamco managing director Tony Rand said his company can now offer an integrated outsourcing service covering every aspect of a claim from first contact to final settlement under the protection of a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated business.
The deal was first mooted in 2011 and is not a consequence of the impending ban on referral fees in personal injury cases.
Vamco is a small/medium-sized accident management company, according to Mr Rand, but following the acquisition of Kingsley Law – which has four fee-earners – there are already three “very significant deals on the table” with intermediaries that currently buy in services from different providers. He said he expected to increase Vamco’s turnover by at least 50% in the coming year.
While large businesses such as Quindell Portfolio are also building integrated services, Mr Rand argued that smaller offerings such as his could provide a more personal service that clients would value.
Mr Rand – the ABS’s head of finance and administration – added that he would also explore offering a wider range of legal services.
He said: “This marks a very important development for us. Our accident management skills are a perfect fit with the litigation expertise of Kingsley Law, and we believe we are the UK's first outsourced claims company to offer such a comprehensive service.
“Since 1997, we have recovered millions of pounds for our clients, through the successful management of thousands of car and motorbike accident claims, but we hadn’t been happy with the quality of service provided by the conventional model of solicitor panels for some time.
“We thought that approach inefficient and time-consuming and delivered poor quality results to clients. When the Legal Services Act introduced the concept of ABS licences, it was something we fully embraced.”
Vamco has worked exclusively with Kingsley Law over the past two years and Mr Rand said “there was an immeasurable improvement in communication and efficiency, not least because it doesn't give fee-earner responsibilities to inexperienced paralegals or overseas claim handlers, as many law firms do.
“We were also told by our business partners that Kingsley Law consistently achieved better outcomes for clients than the traditional panel approach, so they were very much our first choice when we looked to acquire a law firm.”
Vamco was one of the businesses that took part in the SRA’s ABS application pilot in 2011 and yet still the firm’s actual application took nine months to complete. “It’s difficult to understand quite why the process has been so protracted,