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Digitalisation is transforming every area of the law. In this episode, Dino Wilkinson explores how Clyde & Co’s casualty insurance practice has transitioned to a digital-focused offering. He is joined by Damian Rourke, a Partner in our Manchester office who advises on fraud risk and strategy; Catastrophic/Large Loss Injury Manager and Practising Solicitor Kate Mikolajewski, who specialises in the defence of personal injury claims; and Ben Parsons, Head of Digital for the Casualty Practice.
Rourke kicks off by delving into the drivers behind digitisation in the Casualty space, saying that a demand for digital capabilities started to creep into insurer briefs around five years ago, and has rapidly become front and centre of their requirements. “Certainly, every conversation that you have with an insurer these days revolves, to a lesser or greater extent, around what value you can add to their processes and systems from a digital perspective,” he says.
Next, we hear how Clyde & Co has responded to this challenge, both from a client and internal perspective, through introducing technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR), robotic process automation (RPA) and natural language processing (NLP). “It's a mixture of improving what we're doing already and also where we see gaps in how we work, looking at what technology we can then utilize to fill those gaps,” explains Parsons.
Unsurprisingly, data is a key focus, with guests touching on the opportunities and risks it brings to lawyers and clients. Mikolajewski discusses how increased volumes of data, and the ability to analyse it, give both parties an unprecedented view of what is happening in the market. While this can present opportunities for law firms to sell their services, the panel considers whether insurers might become more reluctant to hand over their own data due to confidentiality concerns.
When asked about the people and change management issues around introducing new technologies, all three guests agree on the importance of ensuring that colleagues feel involved in building and rolling out new systems. They also make the point that staff quickly see the benefits of digitisation for reducing manual processes and data entry, and the opportunity to focus on more on value-add activities.
“Automating data collection is revolutionary in that the people aren't going to have to sit and fill out boxes and forms of data… freeing up time to take on a bigger caseload, for example, or do more files,” says Mikolajewski.
Finally, guests talk through the different stages that the Casualty Practice has gone through in its innovation journey, from building a basic excel spreadsheet and looking at off-the-shelf products, to introducing OCR technology, artificial intelligence, APIs, and now data analytics, which is helping to accelerate Clyde & Co’s market offering.
They are also keen to stress the importance that collaboration with clients has played in this rapid evolution, with the practice constantly responding to client needs and adapting products accordingly. And this responsiveness continues, as each client comes with its own requirements and ways of working.
“Clients… want to streamline everything to make it as simple as possible, which may make it more complex from our side,” concludes Parsons.