The evolution of ATE

6th December 2023

This article is part of issue #3 of our ATE newsletter, EvaluATE.

Nathan HoltNathan Holt

Head of BTE and ATE Underwriting

DAS
DAS has been part of the ATE Market since 2001, and much has changed since then. Looking back what is your take on the industry’s evolution?

Before coming to DAS in 2013 I had spent many years working in the General P&C Insurance sectors, and these areas are very established. When I joined DAS in the BTE team I was struck by the immaturity of the market. This is amplified further when you look at 22 years of ATE; in the context of an insurance product, this isn’t long, and it is very much still a newcomer to the industry.

My view is that since 2013, evolution has been very reactive to legislative changes. Insurers have mostly focused on how they can stay in the market, rather than how they can innovate and what can benefit the end client.

The constant threat of change in the legal landscape has hampered progress, as it has impacted the ability of insurers to be truly proactive – which can be frustrating – but the product that has evolved does continue to support clients. It continues to provide an essential service to the most vulnerable people in society, with deferred premiums working alongside a solicitors CFA, which means everyone can be afforded access to justice.

With product lines across Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence and Civil litigation, where do you see the biggest opportunity for insurers and solicitor partners to evolve?

I don’t think this is limited by product line, as I see opportunity across all of them. For me the biggest opportunity is creating a system where insurers and firms work in full partnership to come up with a solution that is truly customer-focused in this space, and that is where DAS have been successful. At DAS we have created a partnership ecosystem to create a wider view as to how the overall financial challenges of a firm might be better resolved.

Using data is a fundamental part of your decision-making process. How could insurers and solicitor partners leverage data more effectively?

The use of block-rated premiums is prevalent in the ATE world. As an insurer, data helps you become more flexible with the levers you can pull when pricing for a portfolio, and firms can support this by keeping and sharing data with their insurer to ensure that they obtain the best price possible for their clients.

Furthermore, it is essential for insurers to share with their partners how their performance measures are derived. Over the years we have seen many providers come and go from the market, and more often than not, unsustainable pricing is at the route of their demise. It is essential to price not only fairly but in a transparent manner.

Data becomes even more important when you are working in a changing legislative landscape, as you need to be able to forecast the impact the changes will have on your underwriting portfolio. Often, data that wasn’t captured or utilised previously can become incredibly important in the future, so working with your partners and agreeing a wider data strategy can be very beneficial.

The sharing of data is a two-way street, and we capture lots of information which we are looking to share with our partners, such as the success rate of certain claim types and the behaviour of defendants.

What lessons of the past can best help inform our future approach?

With ATE, more than many other insurance lines, decisions you make today can impact your portfolio many years into the future. It is crucial for any reputable insurer to not overstretch in any specific area, allowing a balance between stability, risk, and innovation.

In your view, what sets DAS apart from other insurers?

Without a doubt our people are our biggest asset; they have expertise and a passion for what they do. As a business, we understand that we have 2 different types of customer – our solicitor partner, and the insured.

We genuinely care about the customer. Putting the customer at the centre can work to our financial detriment, but ultimately, we put customers ahead of margins. We have a real desire to work in partnership, and we provide delegated authority outside the realms of the norm because we have developed trust with our partner firms.

The changes to FCA regulations and the introduction of GIPP means a greater focus on customer outcomes – how do DAS ensure that the client gets fair value from their DAS ATE policy?

DAS have always put the customer at the centre of what we do, but we now invest even more time and focus in this area to make sure it is evidenced. We are living and breathing the ethos, asking ourselves and our partners some really challenging questions to ensure that we are not just adhering to the regulations, but giving our customers the best possible outcomes.

This article was written for the DAS ATE newsletter, EvaluATE. The newsletter is our regular platform for providing insights to those in the PI and CN industries; you can read the rest of issue 3 at the link below. Don't forget to join our webinar on Wednesday 13th December to hear more from our contributors about the topics raised in this issue.

Read Issue #3 of EvaluATE Join our webinar

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