Motor insurer partners with law firm as referral ban bites
PUBLISHED April 4, 2013
Thursday 04 April 2013 by John Hyde
The UK's fourth biggest motor insurer has become the first to announce a partnership with a law firm in the aftermath of the ban on referral fees.
Ageas UK has agreed a five-year partnership with Cardiff firm NewLaw to provide services for customers making non-fault personal injury claims after a motor accident.
Ageas Law LLP, which starts trading from next Monday, received alternative business structure approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority on 28 March - the last working day before the ban on referral fees came into force.
The SRA has imposed a strict set of conditions on the new partnership, ruling that Ageas Legal must not provide, or be held out to the public as providing, any type of legal services.
No third-party work must be transferred, referred or outsourced from Ageas Law to any of the insurance firm's connected businesses: Groupama Insurance, Tesco Underwriting and Ageas Insurance. They may only continue with third-party claims but cannot conduct litigation.
Andy Watson (pictured), chief executive of Ageas UK, said the partnership would provide customers with a 'one stop, high-quality journey, with fewer hand offs to third-party suppliers'.
Around eight million policyholders are insured with Ageas in the UK and the firm employs 6,000 people. In 2012 it reported net profits of £82.9m on a turnover of £1.7bn.
NewLaw, which was granted an ABS licence last April, was founded in 2004 and employs around 250 people from offices in Cardiff and Glasgow.
Philip Dicken, a director at the firm, said: 'The partnership will provide Ageas customers with an integrated claims service, improving the overall customer proposition, at the point when a customer may need to claim for personal injury.'