Law firm makes push to become brokers' preferred provider of legal expenses advice

Law firm Shoosmiths is targeting brokers to become their preferred independent provider of legal expenses advice in road traffic accident claims.

Shoosmiths business development manager Paul Hurley said that in before-the-event insurance claims there was often the option for brokers to choose which solicitor advised on the matter.

He said Shoosmiths was looking to present itself as an alternative to legal expenses insurance providers' panel solicitors.

Hurley said the firm could provide brokers with direct access to claims information relating to their customers. And in the event of a client contacting the broker, they would be able to see instantly the progress of a case, he said.

"The majority of legal expenses insurance (LEI) providers either deal with the damage only cases in-house and pass the personal injury claims on to solicitors, or alternatively pass both on to solicitors. The LEI provider, not the broker, chooses these solicitors," said Hurley.

"Many brokers want to have more control over the claims process, and they are now taking the initiative and looking at what is available."

The firm will be targeting selected brokers through mailshots and by personal recommendations through existing contact. It hoped to have signed up between 30 and 50 brokers by the end of 2005, Hurley said.

He added: "Traditionally legal expenses insurance companies have sold products without any real involvement of the solicitors who handle the claims when they occur."

He said this meant insurers and brokers alike were often unaware of the services that law firms could add to product offerings.