Insurers in pole position as customers call for legal services 2.0


Legal services thought leaders gather in Prague for 22nd RIAD Congress

5 October 2012, Prague: “Empowered customers with high expectations are set to be a game-changer for the legal services market. And legal protection insurers are best placed to meet the needs of this new generation of internet savvy, self-directed customers,” said Marie-Emmanuelle Schiltz, the newly elected RIAD President, speaking at the 22nd Congress of RIAD - the International Association of Legal Protection Insurance. The Congress was organised under the patronage of Pavel Blažek, the Czech Minister of Justice.

Guest speaker at the RIAD event, Professor Richard Susskind, author of The End of Lawyers? – Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, notes that the global economic downturn is accelerating customers’ desire, “to secure more legal services at less cost,” and increasing recognition that many current working practices are, “unjustifiably inefficient,” adding that “if legal protection insurers have an appetite to diversify, I can indeed see them having a legal process management capability.”

In this more demanding and price-conscious climate, legal protection insurers have been quick to bring a new generation of legal services products to the marketplace. “Our innovations are customer-led; when our customers flag up gaps in the market, we develop flexible and transparent solutions,” explains Bas van Harten, Chief Legal Operations Director, DAS Netherlands, who also spoke at the event.

Whereas, Professor Richard Susskind confirms that, “the legal world adapts more slowly than most other sectors,” legal protection insurers have developed lean management processes. “Innovative insurers have been standardising and packaging their service offerings to deliver more value for clients. And the legal protection insurance industry’s smart legal products are also helping to improve access to justice,” adds Marie-Emmanuelle Schiltz.

Today’s legal services customer demands greater efficiency and shorter response times. Customers especially want more control over the management of their case.

“That’s why we have developed new prepaid products as a logical next step alongside existing insurance solutions.  For such prepaid products we have defined the number of events and stages -our customers really appreciate this transparency as well as knowing the costs associated with each stage of the legal process upfront. We also offer a growing range of ‘one-stop-shop’ solutions. These include basic notary products, a fiscal advisory service and even a fixed-fee divorce mediation product,” explains Bas van Harten.

“Our expertise in standardising the legal process means we can offer value for money propositions. For certain legal services, insurers’ in-house lawyers can be 50% less costly than engaging a traditional law firm, while delivering at least the same or even higher quality,” concludes Bas van Harten.

The 22nd RIAD Congress is a well known event on the international insurers’ agenda. This year’s edition was held in Prague on the 4-5 October 2012, and brought together over 160 high-calibre representatives from the insurance industry and the legal services’ sector, as well as academics, policy-makers and consumer representatives.

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