Parabis partner Direct Line granted ABS licence

Insurance giant Direct Line Group (DLG) has become the latest new entrant to the legal services market, with the announcement today that the Solicitors Regulatory Association (SRA) has authorised it as an ABS.

The group’s new legal services subsidiary, DLG Legal Services, is set to launch on 3 March. It will offer legal services to its customers in partnership with Parabis Law.

The insurance giant applied to the SRA for authorisation to offer legal services to its customers in July (16 July 2013). DLG Legal Services will offer a range of “affordable” services to its customers, including management of personal injury or non-injury claims and related debt recovery, employment and contract issues.

Parabis had no comment to make on the tie-up today but last summer senior partner Tim Roberts said: “This is a very significant development in a period of major change in the delivery of insurance and legal services”.

Parabis bulked up its insurance offering last year when subsidiary defendant firm, Plexus Law, merged with Greenwoods to create a £90m practice (7 May 2013). Greenwoods subsequently lost its Aviva-dedicated personal injury team to DWF (11 October 2013).

Parabis was the first ABS-licensed law firm to receive private equity investment when it received a £50m cash injection from Duke Street in 2012 (22 August 2012).

Meanwhile, FTSE100 insurer Admiral stepped into the legal sector via two ABS joint ventures last year, with Bristol-based claims specialist Lyons Davidson and Cardiff-based compensation firm Cordner Lewis (8 April 2013).

Insurance intermediary BLG, the corporate behind the ComparetheMeerkat brand, acquired claimant firm Minster Law after it gained ABS licence approval in May last year (31 May 2013).

DLG Legal Services is not expected to make a material contribution to Direct Line Group profits.