Reynolds Porter Chamberlain is launching a loss adjusting practice in a bid to increase the amount of new insurance work it attracts.
It has recruited a five-strong team, which will specialise in political risk and contingency insurance, from leading loss adjusting companies GAB Robins and Crawford.
Insurance partner Tim Brown concedes that the firm, like most insurance practices, has had to find new ways to win work.
He says: “It is a response to the necessity of being proactive in going to insurers and saying ‘we have got this’ and of being different to your competitors.”
Although Reynolds Porter’s corporate and media departments have had strong years, the 47-partner firm has not been immune to ongoing consolidation and cost-cutting in the insurance industry.
According to The Lawyer 100 2000 survey, annual fee income rose by only 5.4 per cent to £25.4m, while profits per partner dipped from £203,000 to £181,000.
This is the first time Reynolds Porter has created a specific loss adjustment department. The team, which will be branded separately from the firm because of Law Society rules, will be based at the firm’s Leadenhall Street offices.
The team includes GAB Robins’ UK liability director Paul Townsend and colleague Ray Chmura. Tim Bradford joins from Crawford where he was the special risks division director and brings Sophie Campbell and Neil Stewart with him. It is hoped that the high-profile team will attract new insurers to the firm.
Brown says: “It does not mean that we will scoop every single instruction but it is an extra service and clients can be comfortable about using us.”
Reynolds Porter already carries out some claims handling work. Brown says that the team’s appointment means it can now offer insurers a full service from the moment a claim arises through to its conclusion, including recovery. He says: “It is a type of one-stop shop thought process.”
Members of the new team asked their existing clients whether a move would be acceptable before officially accepting the positions. It is understood they all received favourable responses.
Despite a mediocre financial year, Reynolds Porter is still regarded as one of the leading insurance firms and has a strong background in professional indemnity as well as a broad insurance and reinsurance practice.
Earlier this year, Reynolds Porter was one of a range of firms that agreed to second lawyers to Aon Insurance to form its 30-strong in-house department (The Lawyer, 17 July).