Atkinson: Grow share of the PI market

NAHL, the marketing business that owns National Accident Helpline, has created its second alternative business structure (ABS) licence in partnership with national law firm Lyons Davidson.

The ABS will trade under the name National Law Partners and it is expected to begin operating in November 2017.

It will initially create 35 new jobs in Kettering, the home of NAHL, and Lyons Davidson’s Cardiff office.

In May, NAHL unveiled its first ABS – Your Law – in association with NewLaw Solicitors. It said in its interim results last month that the initial signs were encouraging.

The ABSs act as regular panel firms and NAHL has headed off other panel firms’ concerns that they might cherry pick the best cases by promising to appoint a third party to audit work allocation periodically.

Existing panel firms have also been assured that whatever volume of cases they want will be available.

At the same time, it is anticipated that in the coming years ABSs will account for up to 30% of total enquiries to National Accident Helpline.

CEO Russell Atkinson said: “This move represents another positive step in evolving our personal injury business as we prepare for the reforms outlined by the government.

“To have established two ABSs with such excellent partners in a short space of time demonstrates the strengths of the group and positions us well going forward.

“Both ABSs will enable us to grow our share of the PI market and to provide trusted legal advice to consumers, whilst continuing to provide high-quality marketing services to our panel law firm partners, who remain at the core of our growth strategy.”

Michelle Lennaghan, director of Lyons Davidson, added: “This new venture will benefit consumers by combining the strengths of National Accident Helpline and Lyons Davidson in offering high-quality legal advice to consumers.”

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 ABSs, and sharing in their profits.

Last month, we revealed that the joint venture Lyons Davidson had with LV= had closed, after the insurer said that the sustainability of LV= Legal Services “required scale and significant investment” that it was not prepared to make.


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