DAC Beachcroft ramps up volume arm with Zurich hire

DAC Beachcroft is to boost its claims solutions group with the hire of Zurich Financial Services’ European claims director Bill Paton.

Paul Murray
Paul Murray

Paton, who joins from one of DAC Beachcroft’s biggest clients on 1 October, will take the role of chief executive officer in the claims group.

The firm has been looking to bolster its volume arm since the merger of Davies Arnold Cooper and Beachcroft last year, with the firm seeking to use its claims business to leverage international growth (31 October 2011).

It has so far added lateral partner hires to its Singapore and Madrid offices (11 January 2012) and last month announced its entry into the Scottish market via the take-over of Andersons Solicitors, an insurance litigation and dispute resolution firm with offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow (22 March 2012).

Paton is the most significant addition to the post-merger firm.

Paton said of his move: “Law firms are now operating in a dramatically changing competitive environment. They’ll soon be competing with new entrants – operating without any of the historic constraints of the traditional law firm business model. 

“I’m confident that my experience will help the firm address these challenges and continue to provide best-in-class services across the insurance industry.”

Paton brings with him more than 30 years of experience working in the insurance industry. He will work in tandem with the claim solutions group’s practice head Duncan Rutter and chairman James Morris, overseeing 36 partners and approximately 600 fee-earners.

Managing partner Paul Murray, said: “DAC Beachcroft’s claims solutions group has a long-standing, market-leading reputation. Our people, client relationships and systems and processes in this area are some of the most important assets of the business, and maintaining our leading position in the UK, and exporting our skills to international markets, are key strategic objectives.”

He added: “Bill will bring a commercially focused approach to claims solutions which will be crucial to lead the group into the future, especially given our recent expansion with the new venture in Scotland and the potential for further growth within our international strategy.”

Paton started his career with Provincial before moving to Axa and then to Capita, where he spent four years heading the company’s UK insurance division.  He has spent nine years at Zurich, initially as UK claims director and latterly as the company’s European claims director, with responsibility for over 5,000 claims staff across 12 countries.

During his tenure at Zurich UK, Paton streamlined its four claims functions into a core group as well as introducing formal partnering relationships with key suppliers, most notably those in the legal sector.

Zurich chief claims officer general insurance Thomas Sepp said: “Bill has brought tremendous expertise to what he has undertaken and driven substantial value-adding changes. He’s also been a keen advocate of technical development and strongly supported talent development. He has equally been a respected colleague whom we will miss.”