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Minster Law’s chief operating officer, Paul Taylor, was approached by Right International, specialist recruiters to the claims and wider insurance market, to share his thoughts and opinions on several topical issues impacting the sector and looking at the key challenges and opportunities for the future. 

What is your role within Minster Law and what attracted you to the organisation?

I am responsible for the overall quality of service delivery to our customers and ensuring that our operations are set up for success – delivering the very best culture, expertise, technology, and product solutions. I have known the Minster Law business for a number of years as a business partner and their strong ethical values, passion for service, and obsession to keep improving has always struck me as leading the way. When I was offered the opportunity to join the business, it took me about two minutes to make my mind up!

How would you describe Minster Law to someone who had never heard of the business before?

We are a legal services business that specialises in providing motor legal services to the insurance industry. We keep things simple and have a passion for providing the very best support and advice, keeping things moving forward to deliver outcomes that matter for our customers. When road accidents occur, we are on hand to look after the needs of our clients. From securing their financial settlement, ground-breaking rehabilitation, and high-quality care, we’re with them every step of the way through what is often a life-changing and challenging journey.

What do you see as the biggest priorities for Minster Law over the next 12 months?

We have a fantastic team of experts based all across the UK, on hand to support our insurer clients with all types of claims and we are extremely proud of our track record for delivering the highest quality of advice and service.

Looking ahead, Minster Law will continue to bolster its exclusive focus on road traffic accident (RTA) personal injury and any wider complementary services that our business partners need and trust us to deliver.

Our serious injury team has grown considerably over the last two years and we are determined to keep enhancing our capabilities through training and progression of our colleagues and attracting the very best legal talent in the marketplace.

What are the major challenges facing the sector?

The legal sector has had to adapt and evolve quickly through a series of changes to the regulatory and legislative model, which has in turn placed pressures on the ability for law firms to continue the provision of high-quality services under a fixed-fee environment. The sector has also had to deal with an OIC process more resource intensive than originally envisaged and a shortfall in claims volumes because of Covid. As a result, we’ve seen a consolidation of the personal injury market, with a number of firms exiting and making decisions to diversify into other arenas. The changes overall have however had a positive impact on ensuring that only high-quality, specialist firms are representing claimants.

A major challenge for the motor insurance market as a whole is to promote and leverage the benefits of legal expenses insurance in this new post reforms world. The value of such products to consumers has never been more relevant than it is today and all too often, policyholders find out about their options only after a claim occurs.

How are Minster Law overcoming those challenges?

We’ve been executing a long-term transformation project to respond to the challenges in the personal injury market, and we’ve remained resolutely focused on building a business and operational model which delivers great outcomes for our business partners and their customers.

We’ve embedded new operating structures and service models, optimised our ways of working, and made investments for our future and sustainable success. This has included investing heavily in developing our capabilities through our people and technology. We have developed a market-leading legal team to ensure that we are able to cater for the needs of our insurer partners, whether that be helping customers to navigate their way through their claim, recover subrogated losses, right through to the very best legal professionals to manage our serious injury claims.

At Minster Law, we don’t differentiate service levels depending on whether the customer has legal expense insurance but we are huge advocates for making sure that consumers understand the major benefits of buying complete legal expenses cover when they take out their motor policy – the alternative can be expensive and like all good insurance products, the peace of mind and security is well worth the relatively small investment before anything happens.

What are the long-term opportunities for the business?

Our vision is to be the leading provider of motor RTA legal services to the insurance industry and our focus is on making sure we provide high-quality service and deliver what matters to our insurer and broker partners. There are many opportunities to collaborate to enhance our product and technology offering for our customers over the next 12 months.

Dispute resolution with third party insurers is an interesting area for us that we are keen to develop and explore further to reduce friction for all, bring down overall costs for the industry, and speed up claims settlements for our customers. We prefer consensus to conflict, and we‘ve seen excellent results with our ground-breaking alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot. Through our pilot, we delivered settlement decisions on 100% of cases within an average of 10-days – this a huge difference, compared to the 10+ months or so that a claimant can expect to wait for a Stage 3 court hearing.

How do you see the sector changing and evolving over the next three to five years?

The personal injury market is still facing into some headwinds and those remaining in the sector are grappling with the introduction of the new Intermediate Claims Track and the push for further reforms and expansion of fixed costs. I think we’ll continue to see consolidation of major law firms in the market. One advantage of this is that consolidation leads to consensus. With the market no longer saturated and only a handful of personal injury firms remaining in the sector, there’s opportunity for greater collaboration with insurers.

The ongoing court delays we’re still experiencing will see the push for mediation to be mandatory rather than voluntary, and we’ll see the increased use of ADR.

As the dust hopefully settles on legislative reforms, the legal service sector should expect to see a far greater focus and emphasis on sustainability of supply chains, which is always factored high on the insurer agenda.

How are you nurturing talent at Minster Law?

We foster a culture of openness, trust, and mutual respect, which is underpinned by strong values created by our colleagues. Our focus as an employer will always be about supporting and investing in our colleagues’ professional and personal growth, celebrating differences, and enabling everyone to thrive.

We’re proud to be a platinum accredited Investors in People organisation for six years running. We nurture our people through strong and visible strategy, positive values, talent mapping, a colleague-led equality, diversity and inclusion approach, and flexible working practices to get the most out of our people.

Lifelong learning is part of our DNA at Minster Law and we very much have a focus on “growing our own”, with colleagues who are empowered to diversify the breadth of their knowledge and pursue opportunities in the business. We have an in-house learning and development team dedicated to designing and delivering bespoke development programmes so our colleagues can thrive in their roles, unlock their potential, and deliver the high-quality service we’re committed to.