COVID-19: Slater and Gordon rising to homeworking challenges
With its ‘work anywhere strategy’ well underway, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Chief Information Officer, Jon Grainger at law firm Slater and Gordon explains that the organisation was technologically prepared before the pandemic.
“Normal customer channels have been able to be maintained, with the exception of face-to-face consultation, which we are replacing with video consultation,” he said. ”Effectively you have some backbone technology that needs to be in place before the event, and then it’s a case of accelerating it. So, the timing for us is very fortuitous.”
By harnessing Microsoft Teams and Office 365, Slater and Gordon have enabled its employees to decouple their location and work anywhere via messaging and video calls. Grainger comments that this “ new normal” of working from home, is about managing time effectively. The company has implemented digital signatures and document managing, as well as putting measures in place to spot technology that needs xing.
“I think there’s an anxiety that builds when you can’t physically see everyone, ” Grainger said. ”We’re not saying that it is better than face-to-face, what we are saying is that it is equivalent to how we have been serving customers. We want to get through Covid-19 and make sure that we continue to provide consumer legal services to everyone in the UK.”
Slater and Gordon’s response to COVID-19
In addition to its regular services, in response to the current outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Slater and Gordan has established a COVID-19 hub which details “everything you need to know about COVID-19 and your legal rights.”
Due to the COVID-19 situation continuously changing, Slater and Gorden strives to support communities by providing information on legal rights concerning key issues in this unique situation.
Services provided by Slater and Gordon relating to the impact of COVID-19
Free employment consultation
To help employees and employers directly affected by COVID-19 with a 15 minute free phone call consultation. To book an appointment call: 0330 107 5059
A library of resources
To aid in the response to COVID-19, Slater and Gordon have provided a library of resources that is updated regularly as the pandemic evolves.
The resources include the likes of: furlough scheme, employment rights, ways to keep safe, healthcare professional advice and your right to work from home.
Getting you to the right people
The firm will attempt to provide as much guidance and support on consumer legal queries relating to COVID-19. However if Slater and Gordon can not assist, the firm has collated eight useful links to other professional bodies that can assist with COVID-19 related advice and guidance.
Founded in 1935, Slater and Gordon quickly developed a strong reputation within Australia for its commitments to social justice.
Over the years, the company has become a publicly listed business and established itself outside of Australia and into the UK by 2012. Following several acquisitions the legal firm became the UK largest provider of consumer legal services by 2015 and an independent organisation from its Australian sister company by 2017.
The legal firm’s mission is to make it easy for the UK to access quality legal services at a fair price, with the firm priding itself on delivering highly professional, affordable and fiercely independent legal services.
To deliver on this promise, May 2018 saw Slater and Gordon commit to investing US$37mn in technology and digitising legal services to strengthen its position in the UK and increasing access to justice.
Designing legal services with its customers in mind, Slater and Gordon offers a wide range of legal services that are ‘simple, straightforward, human and fair’ to take care of the UK.
“Our experts specialise in all areas of personal legal services. We understand how important it is to know who’s looking after you and guiding you through your case.”
As part of its offerings, Slater and Gordon provides personal injury services, medical negligence services, employment law services, family law services, property conveyancing, defence - criminal law, and will and trust services.
FCA bans ‘price walking’ for insurers from Jan 2022
Insurers will no longer be allowed to raise premiums upon annual customer renewals following a new ruling by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The new move, which comes into effect in January 2022, will directly affect people renewing their home or motor insurance because they will pay no more for their premiums than a new customer.
The FCA said the change will save loyal customers an estimated £4.2bn over a 10-year-period. However, it also admitted the move could mean cheaper deals for new customers can no longer be sustainable for insurers attempting to attract business.
Price walking practices ended
According to reports, the FCA has been working on changing the rules on ‘price walking’ as it is termed, because customers are charged more their annual premiums, even though their level of risk remains the same. The system has resulted in complaints from consumer groups that loyal customers pay more unnecessarily.
"These measures will put an end to the very high prices paid by many loyal customers. Consumers can still benefit from shopping around or negotiating with their current provider, but won't be charged more at renewal just for being an existing customer."
Victory for the customer
Consumer groups have hailed the change as a victory for customers who have ended up paying higher premiums unnecessarily, but admitted it presented huge implications for insurers in the short term.
Consumer Intelligence CEO, Ian Hughes said, “These changes represent a tsunami for both insurers and their customers, but we should be in no doubt that the fault line that sits underneath this is fair value, mentioned 153 times in the final statement. GIPP changes will feel like just a ripple for those who don’t offer fair value to customers."
He continued, “This is going to be a bumpy ride for insurance brands and consumers alike in the short term. Today, the FCA has revealed that cash and cash-equivalent incentives, other than toys and carbon off setting, cannot be used to entice new customers without being offered to renewing customers. This means the savviest consumers who shop around each year will see prices rise and discounts and offers disappear.
“However, there is an opportunity for the industry to take advantage of all this change that is coming and do something that will be good for brands, good for the industry and good for consumers."
Consumer Intelligence PR and communications manager, Catherine Carey agreed, and described the victory as “a shot in the arm for innovation.”
Carey said the move “presses a giant reset button on the relationship between price and value, it will change the relationship between brands and consumers.”
She explained, “We expect to see insurers changing their models and new firms entering the market for the first time as loss-making year one pricing phases out. If you look at these new rules, and specifically the introduction of fair value, it’s the most exciting time for the development of the general insurance market for decades.”
Hughes also warned against insurers resisting the regulatory change, “Those that don’t take advantage of the opportunity are going to find it really tough.”
He added, “The tipping point we find ourselves at today is a critical point in the journey of this industry and there is an opportunity to be positive.”