RAC lays foundations for ABS move with Quindell deal

Motoring giant RAC has laid the foundations for a move into the legal market after agreeing a deal with the Quindell Portfolio estimated to be worth £500m annually.

Aim-listed Quindell, a brand extension company that also provides consultancy, software and outsourcing services, unveiled plans to launch an ABS last January following its £20m acquisition of Liverpool’s Silverbeck Rymer (24 January 2012).

RAC has now agreed a five-year contract with the firm, agreeing that it should manage all before-the-event (BTE) legal expenses work generated by RAC’s motor book.

Instead of paying a referral fee for the claims, a practice that is no longer permitted under the Jackson reforms (1 April 2013), RAC has agreed to wait until the contract end for payment.

In return, Quindell issued warrants for more than 250 millions shares to RAC valued at £0.13 each, the equivalent of a £32.5m shareholding. The move, if enacted, will give RAC a financial interest in Quindell, making it a significant player in the ABS claims market.

The Quindell board, however, will only recommend a move to the full list once the share price has been trading at a significant premium to £0.13 for a “reasonable period of time” so that the company can enter the “appropriate” FTSE index. The company added that the warrants could be exercised at any time by RAC during the next two years or until Quindell’s Aim listing moves to a full LSE listing, if earlier.

Any profits achieved above the cost of the warrants will be subject to lock-in arrangements ranging from 12 to 36 months.

The decision not to force Quindell to pay for the work means that the Aim-listed group will not need to draw down the £80m funding it raised to support the working capital requirements of this agreement. The majority of these funding lines remain available to support further organic growth, it said.

RAC’s seven million members account for around 10 per cent of the UK motor market. Quindell will provide an end-to-end service for all RAC personal injury claims, including medical reporting, multidisciplined rehabilitation, plus auto accident repair including vehicle hire services and other brand extension services.

The agreement follows a pilot of the scheme that resulted in an improvement of more than 50 per cent on conversion rates while also reducing claims costs by 20 per cent.

Quindell has expanded significantly since it first broke into the legal insurance claims market last January. Chief executive Rob Terry said the major client win was one of many in the pipeline and reiterated the company’s stated aim to revolutionise how personal injury claims are handled.

In January last year, the day after it announced its intention to acquire Silverback Rymer, the company took a 30 per cent stake in claims management outfit Ai Claims Solutions, increasing that to 77 per cent in April.

It followed this in May with the takeover of insurance software house IT-Freedom in a move designed to help it cope with an expected surge in its pipeline of telematics work. In August it bought online claims management network Intelligent Claims Management, and in October it added another insurance software house, Metaskil, to its portfolio.

Quindell followed this up with the purchase of personal injury firm Pinto Potts and no-win, no-fee specialist Accident Advice Helpline.