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Legal protection insurers playing decisive role in widening access to justice

23rd RIAD Congress in Cannes hears how the societal function of insurers is evolving in line with consumer behaviour  

8 November 2013, Cannes, France: “Since jurisprudence is often slow, complex and expensive, too many of those involved in disputes abstain from pursuing their rights. Over the past decade legal protection insurers everywhere have become major protagonists in guaranteeing access to law and justice for their individual and professional clients,” said Marie-Emmanuelle Schiltz, President of RIAD, the International Association of Legal Protection Insurance, speaking at the 23rd RIAD Congress.

This year’s edition of the RIAD Congress was held in Cannes, France and brought together over 140 high-calibre representatives from the insurance industry and the legal services’ sector, as well as academics, policy-makers and consumer representatives.

The Congress stimulated an open exchange of ideas with stakeholders from all over the world. The focus was on the future role of legal protection insurers in the context of important societal trends such as the development of new and ever more powerful technologies, the increasing complexity of the legal environment and the fallout from the global economic crisis.

“Modern societies require a new attitude to dealing with conflict, be it in the private, business or political dimension,” emphasised the keynote speaker, Professor Armin Nassehi, from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, a renowned expert in the psychology and sociology of consumer behaviour.  And the market for legal services is very much in the frontline of changed societal expectations: there is a growing demand for easy, quick and affordable access to legal services.

“It is characteristic for legal protection insurers to provide services and funding should their clients find themselves in legal difficulties. In other words, insurers assume financial responsibility in addition to helping settle disputes,” noted Marie-Emmanuelle Schiltz.

“We will continue to see substantial changes in behaviour of customers looking to pursue their rights when things go wrong,” outlined Professor Armin Nassehi. This has implications for traditional litigation approaches and dispute resolution systems that are often poorly aligned with the expectations of customers – especially digital natives – in an increasingly online world.

“Legal protection insurers are keeping pace with customer expectations and have embraced change to develop new products and innovative ideas that better serve all types of customer. Insurers are filling a growing gap by allowing those who cannot afford increasingly costly legal services to have access to justice, thanks to a proven experience in managing legal processes as efficiently as possible,” concluded Antje Fedderke, RIAD Secretary General.

The 23rd RIAD Congress also included contributions from Dominique Perben - former French Minister of Justice, Kathrin Hoppe from The Geneva Association, Bernd Krieger - Director of the European Consumer Centre Germany, lawyer Philippe Bocquillon and Maurits Barendrecht, Professor of private law at Tilburg University.

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Notes for editors:

1. For more information about the 23rd RIAD Congress please contact:

Antje Fedderke,
RIAD Secretary General
Phone: +32 2 732 36 28

2. Information about the speakers at the 23rd RIAD Congress:

Armin Nassehi, professor for sociology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, has done research on social theory, cultural sociology, political sociology, and sociology of organisations. One of his recent projects was in collaboration with the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue where he looked into the psychology and sociology of consumer behaviour. In particular Professor Nassehi’s comprehensive approach and his unfailing drive to dig into what is happening with today’s society will allow delegates to understand the trends of our modern times.

One highlight of the conference is the intervention of Dominique Perben, former French Minister of Justice. As a top-ranking French politician for many years, Mr. Perben is accountable for a number of legal reforms and initiatives. It will be highly interesting to hear from a high-level political perspective about obstacles, challenges and the prospective of implementing and enforcing sustainable solutions for pressing societal problems, in particular in regard of access to law and justice.

RIAD is particularly proud to welcome Kathrin Hoppe who presents the findings of The Geneva Association on the social and economic value of insurance. The decision of The Geneva Association, the leading international think tank for strategically important insurance and risk management issues, to publish its report coincided with RIAD’s decision to take up the question about the social and societal role of legal protection insurance in particular. Kathrin Hoppe will show how insurance contributes to the general welfare of society and will explain how insurance mechanisms can provide for our society.

Always keen to look at all facets of an issue, RIAD has invited Bernd Krieger, Director of the European Consumer Centre Germany, to present the consumer perspective, and the Parisian lawyer, Philippe Bocquillon, to share with delegates the views of lawyers in regard of present trends, persisting challenges and possible answers. Philippe Bocquillon is very familiar with the role of legal protection insurance and has been involved with the CCBE as expert on insurance. Last but not least, Maurits Barendrecht, Professor for Private Law at Tilburg University, puts in his weight as academic in the legal world. His interdisciplinary research about innovative, client-friendly, affordable and just in time mechanisms to resolve conflicts such as divorce, consumer issues, land disputes and business conflicts has helped developing concepts and tools in countries where access to law and justice is a real challenge, i.e. offering solutions to real societal problems.

3. About RIAD:

RIAD is the International Association of Legal Protection Insurers and was founded in 1969 in Rome as “Rencontres Internationales des Assureurs Défense” in order to promote, as an independent organisation, the interests of specialists in legal protection of 8 European countries. Since then, the Association has grown considerably and represents today some 60 undertakings from 18 European countries, Canada, South America and South Africa. RIAD Members carry on specialised services in the area of legal protection insurance, in particular providing legal advice, representing insured persons out-of-court as well as in-court, and bearing the costs of legal proceeding. They generate premium income of over €3.17bn and as facilitators of access to law and justice contribute to the welfare of its insureds. For more about RIAD: