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Big guns step up

Things got 'Serious' this month as global insurer Allianz stepped up to the ABS plate. Premextra reports on this and all the latest stories from the personal injury market.

There were 250 Alternative Business Structure licences issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority at the time of writing, however with the news that global insurer Allianz has joined the party alongside rival Direct Line, it's clear that the ABS system is beginning to generate business plans and partnerships that are increasingly interesting to insurers. 

Allianz's offering will be branded ALP Law, and has been described as providing legal advice and support to all the insurers' direct motor policyholders who suffer a non-fault personal injury. The service has been launched in partnership with catastrophic PI specialists Serious Law.

Speaking of big guns, they don't come much larger than Clyde & Co, which has chosen Manchester to launch a school leavers' apprenticeship programme. The firm will hire five apprentices this year, and has given a start date of October 2014. Through the 18-month programme, apprentices will focus on catastrophic injury, disease and fraud work, combining formal study with on-the-job learning.

One thing these willing young professionals will certainly not be doing is sending nuisance texts or calls, after the Information Commissioner's Office reported that a record number of complaints had been made linked to accident claims. The ICO said over 1600 complaints were received during the last three months of 2013 and that personal injury firms were being warned they could face fines if they obtain work in this fashion. 

Old fashioned was one of the labels hung on current laws surrounding psychiatric injury, after APIL said the legislation needed reform at a recent Parliamentary reception. APIL president Matthew Stockwell said there had never been a better time for reform as the law is "old fashioned, inflexible and unfair". Matthew said that unfortunately the law had been shaped against the backdrop of the Hillsborough Disaster which will mark its 25th anniversary next month, and that attitude to psychiatric injury had fundamentally changed, with the falling away of concepts such as "the stiff upper lip" since the tragedy of April 1989.