Some of the biggest brand names in the UK will shortly have access to a legal advice and assistance package for their customers costing around £50 a year, Legal Futures can reveal.
CPP Group plc, a leading provider of what it calls ‘Life Assistance’ services such as identity theft help and mobile phone insurance, and which provides them via over 200 businesses worldwide – including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Barclays and HSBC – is developing a product which will give consumers access to everyday consumer advice, a range of legal services, and relevant membership discounts and offers.
It is partnering with national law firm Irwin Mitchell and online document-assembly provider Epoq Legal in order to offer the consumer-centric service.
Shirley Woolham, director of CPP’s personal and commercial protection division, told a conference in London yesterday that the aim was initially to help with “everyday challenges” that its research – both focus groups and a survey of 1,083 people – showed consumers thought were “too small” to seek legal advice on, such as noisy neighbours and boundary disputes.
“The complexities and reality of managing issues through to resolution unaided are often underestimated,” she told the conference, organised by Epoq and defendant insurance law firm Plexus Law, which was aimed at banks, insurers and other big brands interested in entering the legal market.
Key to the service will be immediate accessibility and the service being provided through a variety of channels – online, by phone, by mobile and in person. It is a benefit designed to be used frequently. CPP will “triage” all calls initially and then pass them on to Irwin Mitchell if needed.
Ms Woolham said 70% of consumers considered the offering attractive or very attractive, with convenience cited as the main benefit (by 27% of people). This was followed by ease of access (12%) and one-stop stop (11%), as well as that it is accessible online and provides guidance.
CPP’s research found that people find legal processes long-winded and complicated, and legal advice too expensive to consider. Nearly half said they enjoyed researching their rights and resolving any personal disputes online, but that a third of people would not even know where to start trying to resolve an everyday dispute.
Interestingly, the research also showed suspicion of totally free legal support, which some consumers thought was likely to be more time consuming. People were willing to pay £50-60 a year for such a service, she said.
CPP, which is based in York, has approximately ten million live policies in 14 different countries. They are designed to meet consumer needs across a range of areas relating to everyday living, in particular credit and debit card ownership, personal identity, mobile telephones, travel and the home. It mainly offers its products through its partners, but also sells them directly (see www.cpp.co.uk).
Ms Woolham said CPP had experience of working in the legal market as it provides legal services in southern Europe and the US.