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From leads to legal advice: National Accident Helpline sets up ABS

Atkinson: positive development

NAHL, the marketing business that owns National Accident Helpline, is to launch its own law firm after being awarded an alternative business structure (ABS) licence and signing a deal with Cardiff-based NewLaw Solicitors.

The ABS will trade under the name Your Law LLP and is expected to start business on 1 July 2017.

It is the latest in a string of joint venture ABSs set up by NewLaw and will initially create 75 new jobs.

In the wake of the government’s proposed personal injury reforms, NAHL revealed last year that it was trialling different commercial and structural arrangements so that it could take “a more proactive role in the entire conduct and financing of a PI case”.

These give NAHL three ways to handle enquiries: the traditional panel method; offering deferred enquiry payment terms to selected panel law firms to support “incremental volumes”; and investing in cases using an ABS, and sharing in its profits.

The company told investors today: “Our forthcoming relaunch of the National Accident Helpline brand is expected to increase our market share and this ABS, along with similar such ventures, will enable us to place the incremental enquiries generated by this increased investment.

“It is anticipated that in the coming years ABS structures will account for up to 30% of our total enquiries.”

Russell Atkinson, CEO of NAHL, said: “The setting up of this ABS is a positive development in executing the group’s strategic plans to advance its business model and prepare the division for the PI market changes announced by the government in February 2017.

“NAH has been working together with NewLaw since December 2015 on a trial basis with a view to setting up Your Law and the board is confident in the anticipated performance and impact that this ABS will have for the group.”

Mr Atkinson stressed that that panel law firms “remain central to our plans”. He continued: “The ABS will enable us to grow our share of the PI market, whilst continuing to provide high quality marketing services to them as well as offering trusted and professional legal advice to consumers.”

Philip Dicken, managing director of NewLaw, added: “This new joint venture will benefit consumers by combining the strengths of National Accident Helpline and NewLaw in offering industry leading legal advice to consumers.”

In its most recent annual results [1], NAHL reported a 15% increase in profits, to £18m, despite a small fall in turnover to £49.4m. It also emerged that National Accident Helpline’s ‘Underdog’ character is to be put on a short leash as the company revamps its advertising.