Admiral Group’s long-awaited legal services strategy was unveiled on Friday after it announced separate joint venture alternative business structures (ABSs) with national firm Lyons Davidson and Cardiff-based Cordner Lewis.
The Lyons Davidson deal – foreshadowed by Legal Futures in January  – is to form Admiral Law, while Corder Lewis has helped create BDE Law, whose trading names will be Diamond Law, Elephant Law and EUI Law.
Diamond and Elephant are two of Admiral’s brands, while EUI is the new name of wholly owned subsidiary Admiral Insurance Services Ltd.
Admiral Law’s head of legal practice is Caroline Blake, head of Lyons Davidson’s claimant motor PI team in Cardiff, while Cordner’s managing partner Julian Lewis holds the role at BDE.
Admiral has long been contemplating  the ABS option as a response to the referral fee ban, which came into force last Monday. In 2012 the company earned approximately £6 per vehicle insured (£18.6m) from personal injury referral fees, and around £5 per vehicle in credit hire referral fees (£13.6m).
In a statement, the insurer said: “Admiral is committed to providing its customers with the best possible service. Bringing the provision of legal services in-house will allow Admiral to administer a claim throughout the process and offer customers a materially better quality of service.
“New and proposed reforms related to the handling of bodily injury claims mean that the ABS businesses are not expected to make a material contribution to Admiral’s profits in the foreseeable future. Admiral welcomes all actions taken to curb the compensation culture that currently exists within the UK motor insurance market.”
Mark Savill, managing director of Lyons Davidson, explained that the aim of the joint venture was to provide Admiral policyholders with a clear route to the provision of legal services: “The Legal Services Act has provided us with an opportunity to work together in a strategic relationship to bring together the experience that we have in our respective businesses to improve the customer journey within the area of legal services.
“There is a lot of change in this sector which is causing confusion for customers. By providing legal services under a brand that they recognise, we aim to give them the confidence that we are best placed to deal with any claim needs that they have.
“While our input is in relation to the management of legal services and our technology, Admiral are helping develop the service with their knowledge and experience of the customer process.”
Speaking to Legal Futures after Lyons Davidson received its own ABS licence  last November, Mr Savill indicated that Lyons Davidson would not be tying up with a single insurer. “We’ve always worked with a number of insurers and are hoping to continue to do that,” he said.
Admiral was the second insurer last week to announce a joint venture ABS after Ageas linked up  with NewLaw Solicitors, while it appears that NewLaw has another in the wings . Legal expenses insurer DAS is the other major insurer to have .
Mark Savill will be speaking at the Legal Futures Conference – The LEX Factor – in June. Click here  for more details.