Monday, 4 June 2018

What has legal protection got to offer the insurtechs?

ARAG has done a succession of deals with new partners in the insurtech sector, but what does the legal expenses provider have to offer these innovative start-ups that is so attractive?

It’s hard to open a magazine (well… email) these days, without seeing the word ‘insurtech’. 

There’s certainly a buzz around the term. Even just the names of some of the businesses have the air of innovation about them: Neos, Homelyfe, Cuvva, Dinghy et al.

But, as is so often the case, the term 'insurtech' covers a multitude of innovations. Some are more concerned with how insurance is bought and sold. For others, technology offers a key to managing risk or reducing the impact of claims.

So, how does ARAG fit into all of this, and why are we doing so many deals with insurtech businesses.

First and foremost, ARAG offers flexibility. The legal expenses sector never used to be known for it’s innovation, with providers competing largely on price to deliver a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it solution.

The stack-it-high-sell-it-cheap proposition still dominates the market, but it simply doesn’t work for most insurtech businesses, that need legal expenses and assistance solutions that fit perfectly with their products, policyholders and business models.

For Neos, the insurer that uses “smart home” technology to help either prevent claims or reduce their impact, the flexibility needed was all around the claims process and how ARAG’s home assistance service could integrate seamlessly into their operations to help lessen the cost of claims by minimising the damage that incidents might cause.

Another quality that insurtech business often look far is agility. It’s one thing to be able to tailor our products to the needs of our clients but, if it took us 12 months to get our operational or IT ducks in a row, then most start-ups will have long since walked away.

Our products have their own technological innovations too. Many brokers and their clients have been surprised by the sophistication of our ARAG Legal Services website with its digital legal document building tools for personal policyholders and businesses.

But ARAG’s recent successes in the insurtech sector are actually the product of something we’ve been doing since day one, which is building products that work for our partners and their clients and not trying to sell them a product that just works for us.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Report publication: Small claims limit for personal injury

Last Thursday the Justice Select Committee published their small claims limit for personal injury report.

The report makes a number of conclusions and recommendations. The Select Committee raised concerns about increasing the small claims limit for personal injury: while the Ministry of Justice is making efforts to develop an electronic platform supplemented by guidance and support for unrepresented claimants, the committee is concerned that we this ambitious project risks falling short of creating a claims process that guarantees “unimpeded access to the courts”.

You can read the press release associated with the report, and the report itself on the MOJ’s website.

ARAG Legal Services & GDPR

We have had a number of queries about GDPR and what help is available to Policyholders on our Legal Services website. The team behind the website has been busy working on changes and enhancements to ensure that the service we provide to customers is GDPR compliant. While some changes are already in place others will go live from the 22nd of May.

Changes to legal content – documents and law guide

Business Legal Services


We’ve updated the employment contracts so they’re compliant with the GDPR and – when it comes into effect – the new Data Protection Act.

All supporting recruitment documents have been reviewed to help employers fulfil their data protection obligations when receiving personal information from job applicants.

The Employee handbook now features a detailed Data Protection policy, outlining a business’s data protection responsibilities and how their staff should help ensure they’re met.

There is also a new Privacy notice for employers to give to existing and prospective staff, ensuring they’re given the requisite information about what personal data of theirs the employer holds.

Updated documents: Consultancy agreement, Criminal convictions declaration form for job applicants, Employee handbook, Employment agreement, Employment statement, Executive director’s service agreement, Fixed-term employment agreement, General purpose reference request letter, General purpose rejection letter, Interview checklist, Job application form, Job description, Job offer letter, Licence for an employee to occupy residential accommodation, Licence to occupy business premises, New employee induction checklist, Service occupancy agreement (Scotland), Zero-hours agreement


The Privacy and cookie policy for a website has been overhauled, giving users the opportunity to fully outline what categories of information they capture via their website, what they do with it and their reasons behind it. To be more in keeping with the GDPR terminology, we’ve renamed the document Privacy and cookie notice for a website. However, its purpose remains the same.

The related website terms and conditions documents have also been updated with the GDPR in mind.

Landlords Legal Services

Both commercial and private residential landlords fall under the scope of the GDPR. They will need to give their tenants information about the personal data they hold and what they’ll do with it. A new privacy notice for landlords has been created to fulfil this purpose, and we’ve added guidance to the documents listed below to help landlords understand their obligations.

Updated documents: Agreement for a landlord to share a house/flat, Agreement to let a room to a lodger on a serviced basis, Assured shorthold tenancy agreement, Letter from landlord confirming status of tenant, Medium term lease of commercial premises with rent review, Private residential tenancy agreement (Scotland), Residential tenancy agreement (Northern Ireland), Short term lease of commercial premises with no rent review

Law guides

GDPR-related information is being added to the following law guides:
Ecommerce, Employment, Landlords, Property, Purchase & Sales, Workplace


Changes to websites and operational procedures

Consent for use of data

The data we process in order to fulfil our service is almost all provided to us under the GDPR lawful basis of ‘Contract’, meaning that the data that customers provide is necessary in order for us to fulfil our obligations to them. However, when customers register to use a website for the first time, we ask them to provide specific ‘consent’ to use their data for some purposes. For Business customers This is to receive a business bulletin. As we cannot presume any previously supplied consent is still valid this must be reset and collected again. 

We have amended our registration form to capture consent in a more granular way, as required under the GDPR, and to tell customers how they can update their preferences. We have also updated the summary privacy notice included on the registration form:

Going forward, all existing consent responses will be reset to ‘No’ in our databases, and customers will be prompted to opt in again when they next visit the site. 

Timestamps for consent collection

As required by the GDPR, at all points where consent is collected electronically, this will be timestamped and versioned, so that there is an exact record of what a client consented to and when this took place. 

Data Protection Policies

All data protection/privacy policies that our website supplier maintains or controls will be updated to better explain who the data controller is and to adopt a friendlier format, with a hyperlinked list of sections at the start of the document. Links to the Data Protection Policy will also be displayed more prominently on the website as part of the registration process.

Terms of use

All website terms of use will be updated to show GDPR data, including reference to the Data Protection policy.
We hope Policyholders find all of these changes helpful and that they feel supported in meeting the new GDPR obligations.  

(Details of GDPR updates described in this Blog have been supplied by the team behind our legal services website). 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

MoJ gears up for surge in employment tribunal cases

Barrister Daniel Barnett’s latest news wire asserts that the Ministry of Justice is looking to appoint 54 employment judges across England & Wales. 

The new appointments will be announced in January 2019, although they are unlikely to take up work immediately as there will need to be training and induction first.
DB goes on to comment that he has been told, informally, that the Ministry of Justice intends to launch a second recruitment round for fee-paid employment judges, once this recruitment round is complete.

Against a back ground of cuts elsewhere within the Justice system, the recruitment campaign for Employment judges clearly corroborates the increase in claims volumes that we have seen since employment tribunal fees were abolished. 

By way of a reminder, the number of single claims increased over the same quarter for the previous year by 64%  for Q3 and 90% for Q4 (according to HM Court & Tribunal Services statistics). The next statistical release for Q1 2018 is expected in June so watch this space for further comment.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

LEI : Are you making the most of this opportunity to differentiate yourself?

Whether it is serving the needs of commercial, motor or household customers, legal expenses
insurance (LEI) is now a key part of the business proposition for many insurance brokers.
The cover can be sold on a stand-alone basis, but in most cases is offered alongside household,
motor, commercial and landlords’ policies and is an affordable extension that typically includes
indemnity against the cost of common legal disputes as well as advice helplines and access to
online legal documents.

A legal matter can surface unexpectedly and there can be enormous reassurance in having
taken out LEI, often on the advice of a broker. But, given that legal risks change, are there
sufficient levels of understanding among brokers? To gain greater understanding of the sector,
Insurance Post and specialist LEI provider ARAG have recently conducted a major research
project with brokers to find out more about this market.

Certainly, without cover, many clients could find it more difficult to meet potentially high legal
costs, and indeed, even know where to find a solicitor with relevant experience. However, LEI
takes pressures away and is typically available at affordable prices, and can be tailored to meet
individual needs.