Merger creates strong business in changing insurance industry - Vikki Melville

The insurance industry is changing as never before. Digitalisation of the claims management process, an increasing ability to capture and interrogate vast amounts of data, a need to move as quickly as possible to keep indemnity spend low and, of course, the constant struggle to combat fraud.

All these are features of the direction of travel in insurance – especially within the areas of casualty, property and liability business lines. These trends, increasing over the last five to ten years in an ever-challenging market, have put ever more pressure on the need to achieve economies of scale and offer the fullest possible service.

The key for providers servicing the insurance market – particularly panel law firms like Clyde & Co – is to help insurers achieve these aims, but more particularly to partner with them at every step of the claim’s handling process from cradle to grave.

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For both Clyde & Co and BLM, our response to insurers’ changing needs was an obvious one. By combining our practices together through a merger last month, we have created an incredibly strong business built on scale, bringing together highly-skilled lawyers and support staff, and incorporating our new vision for innovative products driven by the fast-paced changes in claims technology.

Vikki Melville is Managing Partner for Scotland at Clyde & Co
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Both firms north of the border already have first-hand experience of benefits that follow a merger. Clyde & Co’s team in Scotland was the result of a merger in 2015, between Clyde & Co and Simpson & Marwick. The year before, BLM in Scotland was formed after HBM Sayers merged with them.

Bringing BLM and Clyde together means that the business practices north of the border can benefit from the range of services that Clyde & Co offer to their extensive client base, as well as the global platform in which knowledge and expertise is shared across UK jurisdictions and indeed across a truly global insurance group.

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Today, our newly merged business has the largest team in the UK casualty market. But scale is also about data. Larger data sets mean both better-performing algorithms, more complete answers and better management information to provide to insurance businesses to help them set their reserves and predict trends developing in the future. This horizon scanning gives clients early warning of legal and societal changes and emerging risks that could impact their business models.

The other benefit of such a large data set is that it allows AI and machine learning to function more effectively. AI-powered tools (like our own Clyde & Co Newton offering) will be the future of casualty – automating much of the claims process, increasing both speed and efficiency. But technology is just one part of an offering. Service providers need to build strong, personal client relationships to be true partners to their clients.

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We hope that by harnessing our combined organisation’s capital – both intellectual and financial – we have the capability and strength to achieve this vision to deliver the lowest overall indemnity spend to our clients.

It’s clear that insurance is changing. Service providers need to change accordingly.

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Vikki Melville is Managing Partner for Scotland at Clyde & Co

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