Touted as one of the potential game changers likely to enter the post Legal Services Act arena, the AA has fulfilled market expectation – albeit a little later than its closest rivals – by securing alternative business structure (ABS) status and entering into a joint venture with Bristol-based Lyons Davidson.
AA Law, which will initially handle personal injury (PI) work and other litigation associated with car accidents suffered by AA members and customers, will start trading on 1 December, with employment and contract services likely to be added in the future.
‘It is a natural fit for the AA, its legal helpline and its motor legal expenses policy, which is already supported by Lyons Davidson,’ said head of AA Law Janet Pell, who has been the head of legal services at the AA since 2010.
The AA already offers its 16 million members access to pro forma legal documents such as tenancy agreements and wills in conjunction with Parabis, and Pell added: ‘It’s also a logical extension of the legal documents we already host on the AA’s website, which provide customers with easy access to legal recourse on a host of issues.’
Lyons Davidson also partnered earlier this year with leading insurer Admiral, which after obtaining ABS status entered the legal services market via a two-pronged venture with the six-office national firm and also Cardiff-based Cordner Lewis.
The Lyons Davidson agreement created Admiral Law, which provides legal advice to Admiral’s customers, while the Cordner Lewis partnership operates as BDE Law and services Admiral’s other brands: Bell, Diamond and elephant.co.uk.
The AA’s predicted entry into legal services comes after its closest rival, the RAC, in April forged a deal with Quindell Portfolio to manage all before-the-event legal expenses work generated by RAC’s motor book in a deal covering a potential £500m worth of motor claims annually.
Separately, Saga today (5 November) announced that it too has been granted a full ABS licence to operate its own joint venture with Parabis Law, which has provided legal services on behalf of the over-50s insurance group for the last ten years.
Saga, which has nearly three million members across England and Wales, first entered the legal market with online documents back in 2010, expanding a year ago to offer fixed fee will writing, probate, powers of attorney and conveyancing services.
Mark Savill, managing director of Lyons Davidson said of this latest deal: ‘We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with The AA and its members through this strategic partnership.
‘The ABS will allow us to provide a seamless service for AA’s members should they be in a car accident. It also opens up the opportunity to provide AA members with a wider range of affordable legal services which can be accessed through AA Law.’