By: 7 August 2015
Moving with the times

Rachel Stow explains how the evolution of Thorneycroft Solicitors has allowed the ABS to stay ahead of the changing PI landscape

Anyone working in claims knows that change is constant, particularly as the market remains under the watchful gaze of government.

Consequently, there’s been a great deal of diversification by claims businesses and law firms alike over the past two years. Needs must; we’ve seen many long-standing specialist PI firms dabbling in clinical negligence, while others in the market are eyeing up opportunities much further afield.

So with change and diversification now equal bedfellows for claims professionals, how do you keep ahead?

Starting out life as a specialist motorcycle claims law firm, we’ve always had one eye on the future and so weren’t caught off guard by the seismic changes in the claims market. Yet manoeuvring these changes and keeping up to date with claimant behaviour has not been easy.

Yet Thorneycroft Solicitors has evolved. In part through acquisition, into a group of businesses:insurance claims management business Bankstone; full-service accident management company, Claimcare; car hire business United Assistance; and specialist PI brands Claimant Law and Cycle Assist, all under the TS Group brand.

Thorneycroft Solicitors is now an Alternative Business Structure, and although this hasn’t had a huge impact on the lives of our staff or the day-to-day running of the business, what it has allowed us to do is bring in non-legal owners to further drive diversification.

One of my greatest concerns to managing change and diversification has been to ensure that regardless of the point of entry into TS Group, that the founding principles on which Thorneycroft was built – namely that the client is central to our business and everything should be built around them – permeates across the group. Even though the alternative businesses are dealing with different types of claimants and at different times in the process, it was essential that the client should not notice when their case moves from Bankstone, for example, to Thorneycroft.

Given the often small margins at stake, all this has had to be done with the utmost efficiency. Not only has this meant ensuring that our systems mirror each other, enabling us to join processes for the clients’ benefit and ensuring absolute transparency at every stage of the clients’ claims journey. We’ve also had to make sure that claimants get the communication that they want when they want it. Not easy when you’re operating on small margins.

We all know that some claimants will want greater engagement than others and so it’s been critical for us to have a process that allows them to be involved as much, or as little, as they want to be.

Embracing technology

I have to confess that I never thought an app could change my life, but it really has. Developed at relatively minimal outlay cost with InCase, all are clients are given access to the Thorneycroft app, which lets them experience real time updates on the claims journey. The app has been invaluable for helping us to eliminate clients calling ad hoc for an update, so as a result we’ve significantly reduced the time we spend on telephone updates.

Another added bonus of the app’s use has been that a claimant is asked to rate every interaction they have with us. Any interaction which falls below our expected levels is immediately flagged to the management team. We can then personally investigate the rating with the claimant via the telephone.

In my experience, claimants are genuinely surprised at such a prompt and proactive response from a senior member of the team, which then usually leads to a speedy resolution of any issue and the rating goes back to what it should have been.

However, such innovations will and cannot stop there. We’re constantly on the lookout for the next big thing that will not only enhance how the customer experiences the claims process but will ultimately get us closer to the source of the claim.

Watch this space.

Rachel Stow is managing director of TS Group