RIAD President Philippe Rambaud on how legal protection insurers contribute to access to law and justice for all

Program and speakers

Communication-led growth in a post-digital world

Legal protection insurance (LPI) stands on the cusp of a great new period of development. And you can seize this opportunity if your business is flexible, creative and ready for change. That was the exciting message from the insurance experts, branding consultants and lawyers participating in the 24th RIAD Congress held in Seville in September 2014. The flipside of this positive message is that a traditional approach no longer cuts it in a post-digital world. Disruption is everywhere. In a fast-moving world your business must stay relevant or else it will fade away.  

Check out our selection of key insights from the RIAD Congress.

1. Understanding the operating environment
Your business exists in a context. So what factors are shaping the delivery of LPI?
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a) Demand for affordable legal services is increasing

Europe's prolonged economic crisis is having a profound effect on the delivery of justice in society. Factors including falling purchasing power and a weakening of the state’s financial support for the legal system have created a sense of vulnerability. Many now feel that they no longer have the means to protect themselves and enforce their rights when a dispute arises. Such developments are significant. For example it may drive up the demand for help in solving voluntary extra-judicial procedures. The added value of LPI is that is makes access to justice a reality for people and businesses. This unique value resonates strongly in the current context. As a result the need for LPI has never been so pronounced in many markets around the world.

“European citizens are afraid of losing their jobs, not being able to pay their rent, not being able to repay their loans and their fear is amplified by the fact that they no longer have the means to enforce their rights.” Philippe Roche

b) Disruption is all around us

Passive consumers and predictable competition are a thing of the past. Technology-led disruption is having a profound effect on businesses everywhere. This broad phenomenon is industry agnostic. In response, leading companies try to view the world without an industry-specific filter so they can spot potential opportunity from wherever it may come. For LPI, intervening prior to a dispute may be a new market opportunity.

Thanks to faster and more interactive communications, individual consumers or commentators can now significantly impact your brand. And this democratising effect is not limited to the perception of your business; it reaches throughout the entire value chain and it is leading to innovative product development and the emergence of more flexible business models.

c) Wanted: A trusted advisor

People expect to be able to find the information they need easily. Even for complex subject matters. When a legal dispute arises the first port-of-call is Google.  However surveys indicate that there is a lack of reliable online information sources. Legal protection insurers could bridge this gap in the marketplace. Using your expertise to own this vacant legal advice space is a great positioning opportunity. Reaching out directly to customers can enhance the brand and it represents a disintermediation opportunity. But doing so successfully means first understanding the post-digital consumer.

“Legal protection insurance is particularly adapted to the four themes that are generally used in communications for insurance. Loyalty, responsibility serenity and accessibility.” Philippe Roche

 

 

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2. Mastering fluid business realities
Technology-enabled disruption and brand democratisation are a fact of life. Get over it. And hit the accelerator! [Open/Close]

Liri Andersson on the benefits of embracing fluid business realities.

a) Shape-up!

In an unpredictable world the only constant is discontinuity. Up-skilling may be required to take full advantage of the increased capability and affordability of technology or to benefit from a more sophisticated approach to communications, namely one that seeks to build a brand and democratise value creation. We have moved from a stable environment to today’s fluid world. Is your organisation fit for purpose?

Eight traits of a fluid organisation:

  1. Agility of thought
  2. Willingness to operate outside of comfort zone
  3. Agnostic understanding of the external and internal environment
  4. Internally and externally relevant purpose
  5. Focus on value added rather than value taken
  6. Trust gained through transparency of intention and activity
  7. Innovation-friendly
  8. Plan for continuous change

b) Be open-minded

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

New business models are emerging. Recent trends are focused on product use rather than ownership and on disintermediation. Examples of such disruptive competition include the rise of peer-to-peer networks that are challenging established hotel and taxi businesses. Will your business be next? It’s time to reflect on who will be competing with you in the future and what it means to your business today.

A flexible mindset is needed to ensure your business evolves as rapidly as the outside world. The societal need for more affordable legal services could be a real driver of change. Envisaging new markets needs imagination. For example, judicial reform is likely to lead to disengagement from certain categories of dispute – such as frequent low-stakes litigation. As old certainties (or monopolies) crumble insurers can look to forge innovative new opportunities to cooperate with legal professionals. A flexible approach can help to increase LPI penetration rates in many markets.

c) The need for speed

The legal system has never been characterised by speed. Yet in today’s fast-paced and technology-enabled world consumers are more time sensitive. Maintaining outmoded response times serves to make you irrelevant in the eyes of the consumer. In the legal services space, insurers are best placed to respond to the post-digital consumer’s level of expectation. The solution entails the embracing of technology, the promotion of transparency and a continuous effort to better understand customers evolving needs, based on closer collaboration and use of real-time marketing. Specifically, raised consumer expectation as to adequate and timely feedback (regarding the progress of their cases) needs to be met.

d) Nurture your social capital

You may hold the copyright, but you are not the sole owner of your brand. You share it with your customers. While no company wishes to lose control of the message, there are real business advantages to being creative and embracing this democratisation trend. Today the predominant media channel is people. Consumers trust earned media such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends or family above all other forms of advertising. Earned media is not necessarily positive however. Ignore unwanted comments at your peril; likewise an overly controlling or litigious response may also damage your business. The optimal approach is to embrace, plan and collaborate where possible in order to grow your company’s social capital. This co-creation concept can reach beyond brand positioning and may even lead to the democratisation of product development and innovation to grow your business.

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3. Standing out from the crowd
To establish a brand that consumers truly value you need to distinguish your brand in the mind - and more importantly the heart - of today's post-digital consumer [Open/Close]

a) Stay relevant to the post-digital consumer

'Know your customer' has long been a central tenet of good business practice. While the fundamental aspects of customer relationship management remain the same - segmentation; consistency; relevance and innovation - today’s consumer has new traits that need to be understood.

The post-digital consumer expects the real and the virtual to co-exist in a seamless way. Tried and trusted LPI tools, such as legal advice hotlines, emails and letters still have their place, but the challenge is to ensure that your business can blend the full spectrum of online and offline tools and services. A well-observed paradox of the post-digital consumer is that while they are in many respects more connected and more sophisticated than their predecessors, the usefulness of a rational outreach approach can often be limited. The brands that resonate most strongly succeed by sharing expectations and feelings that connect them to their consumers. They communicate something unique, a feeling of affinity that helps to build trust and leads to growth of social capital. This translates into positive word-of-mouth, which is the best indicator of brand health and growth potential.

b) Be different

If it is not clear how a product differs from its competitors, the consumer makes a price-led decision. Successful differentiation, on the contrary, means that the consumer attributes a value to your brand above and beyond its price tag. Legal protection insurance providers have a great opportunity to differentiate from traditional insurance and from the legal profession, which sometimes suffer from a staid image. LPI is a markedly different product to classical insurance as it is not based on the compensation principle. Rather it provides access to expert knowledge. Parallels can be drawn with the health insurance industry, which is characterised by innovative marketing and a sophisticated approach to consumer engagement.

Real-time legal services provision

The provision of legal services may appear to be resolutely offline. But this most traditional of services is not immune to the winds of change. There is broad recognition that a more modern and affordable approach is needed. The legal protection insurance industry has the skill-set to partner with the legal profession and drive innovation in the provision of access to justice. 

  • LPI knows how to manage a large volume of clients and mutualise cost.
  • LPI has developed customer relationship management skills.
  • LPI has a greater range of distribution channels to access customers.

c) Use real-time marketing

Increasingly the true mark of differentiation is in how you offer your services to the customer. Leading companies systematically collate, analyse and transform reams of consumer behaviour data from various sources into granular level customer insight. Technology is slashing the cost and difficulty of this task. The knowledge gained is used to integrate the customer voice into the business and deliver a more distinctive service. It also allows for real-time marketing - or reaching out to people at the right time with the right offer. Although the post-digital consumer may have high expectations of quality, the good news is that the smart use of data can help to deliver tailored solutions for mass-market products. An endemic issue for LPI is the relatively low amount of interaction opportunities with clients. The solution is to develop contact mechanisms beyond traditional claims handling. Creative legal protection insurers could even envisage timely pre-emptive contacts that help clients avoid disputes before they escalate.

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