By Willie Pienaar
We’ve all heard the endless stream of lawyer jokes. Perhaps the most telling one is: how many lawyer jokes are there? Three, the rest are all true stories. But at the heart of these jibes at one of the oldest professions is the fact that many people still feel that lawyers are there, not as a means to protect the vulnerable and uphold justice, but simply to make money.
Unfortunately, insurance is often cast in the same light – a grudge purchase, painful, but unavoidable. Changing the construct of how insurers deal with disputes and claims has been a journey of collaboration, co-creation, and the understanding that there is a better way of doing things; a new methodology that works for the insurers, their shareholders, the professionals working in the industry, and, most importantly, the consumer. The journey begins with an altered attitude.
The Penny Drops
In 1992, I was working as a barrister in Cape Town. While the job was fulfilling, I soon realized that there was a significant disconnect. I knew that for a lawyer, time is money and we were all obsessed with billable hours. However, time was also costs incurred for our clients, and, in the end, the economy of the law (as it was practised) was often exactly what was standing in the way of access to justice!
Looking more closely at the challenge, it was clear that the problem was twofold: a lack of early exchange of information ...