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In this edition, Helen provides an overview of the past year and highlights what the future holds for the company as it marks its 14th anniversary in March 2017.

2017 will be our first full year within the AmTrust Group and the management team are excited about the next phase of development for the company. We operate as an autonomous managing agent, but benefit from the greater resources and infrastructure that comes from being part of a large group. We are continuing with our plans to grow and to remain at the forefront of delivering new products and services.

Growth is strong across our existing Before-the-Event legal expenses insurance (LEI) business lines. During 2016 we were delighted to have been appointed to provide Family LEI cover to over 500,000 home insurance customers of esure and Sheila’s Wheels. We also saw significant growth in our managing agent service following deals with Acromas Insurance Company/Saga.

Last year also marked our diversification into new areas with the launch of a suite of complementary assistance products in partnership with Strategic Insurance Services and Lorega. Launching these products has made it possible to respond to the specific needs of corporate partners; whether by sourcing a specialist product or consolidating products with one provider enabling them to control due diligence and acquisition costs. We now have a number of schemes going live with the new products.

We are also looking at further diversification and launched our Arc Tax Assistance brand this month, under which we will market dedicated Tax Investigation Insurance products to accountants.

We continue to invest in technology and launched our online claims reporting system last year, designed to significantly improving the customer journey. The system asks customers for information based on their specific circumstances rather than using standard forms, and is fully integrated with our claims management system to ensure a streamlined notification process. It also includes access to alternative dispute resolution, such as online legal documents and panel solicitor conversion tools, such as information videos presented by legal specialists from the Arc Legal panel. The system also provides resources to help and inform customers, such as help text and pointers through the process. We believe that this system is ‘best in market’ and we will maintain a programme of continuous improvements to retain its market-leading position.

We are monitoring and assessing the impact of the recently announced personal injury (PI) reforms on LEI, including proposed changes to small claims court limits and the reduction or removal of compensation for whiplash injuries. We are producing a series of options presentations considering different aspects of the proposed changes on products and will continue to update our corporate partners on how we will respond.

We view the proposed changes as an opportunity rather than a threat. It is important to emphasise that Arc Legal does not earn money from PI claims, and we therefore see potential opportunities to further support customers, arising from the emergence of different servicing models for minor claims.

There is no doubt that 2017 will be another important year for Arc Legal and our market.

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