Law and Claims - Times they are a changin'

Jul 15, 2016

The relationship between claims teams and legal advisers is changing.  No longer is it just about the technical advice or the ability to beat the opposition in a dispute, nowadays law firms need to align with what the insurers are trying to achieve in terms of competing for business and meeting customers’ needs. This means that the days of just ‘hiring a Rottweiler’ are largely over and the approach needs to be more subtle, more nuanced and yes one that adds value to the insurer’s “value proposition”.  Of course this is not easy when the job is often explicitly combative, whether that be in defense or attack.  So what will relationships look like in the future and what will claims teams be looking for when choosing their law firms? 


Gracechurch has been researching the claims teams views of the lawyers for some time and in 2013 found that the strongest driver of recommendation by some margin was ‘high calibre partners’, indicating that claims teams tended to value individual expertise above all other attributes. Beyond the pure expertise though were the softer relationship aspects that trusted advisers can give to claims executives who have to make more subjective, less black-and-white decisions.  The question then, as now is can law firms ‘bottle’ these value-added aspects of their service and deliver it consistently on a global basis?

We are just about the start the interviewing for the 2016 Report and we expect this year’s Report to show some shifts, especially as the leading insurance law firms have grown and developed their own styles and ‘brands’.

The increasing complexity and changes in the market have also impacted our Reports and how they are being used. The Insurance Law Report is a good example of how research has evolved and we will be working with clients using the research to help open up dialogue in areas which have previously been either sensitive, or where there is misunderstanding… as Ben Bolton explains:


“An important aspect of the 2016 project has been making sure that it gives clients the opportunity to strengthen relationships with London (re)insurers.  The Report will of course give clients data to create greater understanding of (re)insurers needs but it is also designed to create a ‘neutral space’ in which we can enable positive dialogue between insurers and law firms about how they can build stronger partnerships that ultimately benefit the insurers’ customers.”