“But complementing that consolidation is also collaboration,” he said. “So a big part of what we’re seeing on a regulatory basis means consolidation but also collaboration in the sense that it’s really important, now more so than ever, that we work with what would normally be considered our adversaries in the insurance sector. We don’t see them like that at all, we see them as friends, not foes and we want to work closely with them.
“Because, if you look at it from our clients’ perspective, what our clients want – certainly in a low value, high volume space, but really across the PI space – they want a quick and right resolution of their claims as nobody wants to go through a drawn-out process when they’ve had an accident and suffered an injury.”
In the interests of accommodating this client expectation, Slater & Gordon is working closely with insurers and other stakeholders to find ways in which the entire insurance ecosystem can work together and take a more collaborative approach to the resolution of claims. If these can be concluded quicker, Jarvis said, it will help reduce the inefficiencies all along the process that comes with resolving personal injury claims, therefore, minimising costs on all sides.
Technology is at the heart of driving such efficiencies, and Jarvis highlighted that, as a law firm, Slater & Gordon has committed itself to seeking out and implementing the innovations needed to meet changing consumer expectations. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the key buzzwords in this space right now, he said, and many other service sectors and industries are committing themselves to using these tools to change the way they work.
The legal sector has been a bit behind the curve on this and is still very much a work in progress but that process has begun and, for Slater & Gordon, it has already made significant headway. The key, Jarvis said, is that the firm knows how important it is for the industry generally not to rest on its laurels but rather to always be looking for the next opportunity for innovation and collaboration.
“You’ve certainly got the more progressive thinkers in the market at the moment,” he said, “the ones who can actually see that we’ve got to all change the way that we do things and the way that we work. This an ecosystem that is made up of many parts – whether that’s the provision of the medical evidence to support a claim, or the credit hire repair piece, or the rehabilitation piece, or any of the other component parts of this ecosystem – they’re all very much intertwined with each other and dependent on each other, and the clients are the ones at the centre of that.
“And, therefore, if you’re creating an environment whereby everyone in that ecosystem is committed to achieving the right outcome, and getting to that outcome as quickly as possible, then that has to be in the best interests of everyone within [the sector].”
Historically, Jarvis noted, there have been a lot of games being played and a lot of different business models being utilised across this space – whether that’s on the insurer side or the legal side – but he and his wider team believe the time is right to cut through that. There are a lot of other, external factors, at play right now, both within the courts and on the regulatory side, he said, so the time is right for everybody to pull together in the common interests of all stakeholders.
The firm has been doing this for a number of years at a lower level, in terms of having meetings with insurers to discuss claims and other surrounding issues, Jarvis said. But the conversation now goes beyond that, it’s about taking these discussions to a new level and exploring how the wider sector can work together to embed new processes, to create trust and to find new opportunities to help evolve this market and bring it into the future.
“The resolution of a claim is is what the client wants, it is what we want as lawyers, it is what the insurers want, it’s what everybody wants,” he said. “Because, from a business perspective, as well as from the clients’ perspective, it’s what is best for everyone. That’s where we’re coming from and we are seeing traction in that. And a lot more are coming to us to have these discussions, which is great.”