Insurers surprised at the legal profession’s resistance to comparison websites

By Charlie Wilson In Legal News

At the recent Claims Club event hosted by the Insurance Post, insurers expressed surprise at the legal profession’s resistance to comparison websites. They urged more lawyers to embrace what they have found to be a vital, cost effective business development tool that has benefited both the industry and their consumers.

The Law Superstore’s Matthew Briggs was invited to speak on the issue of “Bringing innovation into the legal sector” at a recent event hosted by the Insurance Post.

Being among some of the household names in insurance proved an interesting experience for him, given that the informed audience had first-hand experience of adopting comparison websites as a crucial business development tool.

Matthew says:

“Talking to insurers about our work at The Law Superstore is a very different proposition to engaging with law firms. Having embraced the big four comparison websites in the financial market nearly a decade ago, these professionals know what a transparent, easy-to-use and efficient comparison tool can achieve.

“Comparison tools are second nature to insurers today, and they readily admit that it is the most affordable and reliable way of connecting customers with service providers.”

While some in the legal profession have suggested that legal cases are too complex to package up into a comparison tool, Matthew says that insurers have already faced and overcome such challenges successfully.

“The response from insurance professionals is unequivocal when presented with the arguments over complexity and price publishing. An actuary will tell you that there is nothing simple or straightforward about the work they do, and yet finding a way to package up their services for the purpose of making it consumer-friendly and suitable for a comparison site is quite simply a necessity if they wish to generate new business.”

As part of the event Matthew was invited to explain more about the functionality of The Law Superstore and its applications. The response, he admits, was quite different to that of the legal profession:

“Insurers already understand comparison websites inside out. But they also know to ask pertinent questions about our particular model. For instance, they were quick to ask if our comparison tables could be manipulated to return search results that favoured providers who were prepared to pay more. The answer is, of course, no. The Law Superstore returns results based purely on the user’s search criteria and cannot be skewed in any way.”

As an industry that works hand in hand with legal professionals, particularly in the personal injury claims field, it was accepted that a whole of market aggregator like The Law Superstore is long overdue and that the potential for it to improve the market is significant.

“Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the event was how in tune with consumer demands the insurance market is. For them, comparison sites are tried and tested routes to market, helping build effective relationships with customers.

“The insurance industry does not have the kind of latent market that the legal profession does. Where there is a need for insurance – be it home, contents, business or car – people simply search for the best cover and make a purchase. It came as a surprise to insurers that there would be such hesitancy among legal service providers to embrace The Law Superstore, given that the need for market penetration is so much greater among law firms.

“It is also interesting to hear that these insurers are consumers in their own right. On both a business and individual basis there were many delegates at the Claims Club event that admitted to being scared of legal services due to fears over cost and an inability to shop around with ease.”

Other points made by the delegates included the potential for The Law Superstore to help reduce cases of personal injury fraud and improve insurers’ own service offering.

“The issue of personal injury fraud is a hot topic in both legal and insurance industries currently. It is widely acknowledged that an ‘ambulance chasing’ culture has no place in either sector and that there is a shared responsibility to change public perceptions.

“The processing of claims through a website such as The Law Superstore can act as an important vetting tool in ensuring that 1. Claimants are genuine and are looking for a service because of a real need, and 2. These clients are able to contact reputable and accredited legal service providers.

Matthew continues:

“Insurers were also keen to discuss the secondary market for The Law Superstore in helping insurers to shop around for legal professionals and better match their clients with firms. The Law Superstore’s ability to tailor results by location or through advanced filters makes it a valuable asset to insurers beyond that of anything previously available to them.”

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