BRISBANE: National insurance law firm HBA Legal has started implementing its talent acquisition and growth plan just 12 weeks after integrating into Crawford & Company®, the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions to carriers, brokers and corporations.

Courtney Steele joins the defendant insurance specialists as partner, following 13 years with Ashurst, and brings with her Solicitor Kaila Leendertz. Ms. Steele will head up HBA’s existing Brisbane office.

HBA Legal® Director, Nathan Hepple, who now leads strategy and growth for the law firm in Australia, said Ms. Steele joins the business with a great deal of enthusiasm for the changing operating model.

“As part of Crawford®, we can now offer clients a compelling solution: the ability to handle the entire claim lifecycle under one roof,” he said.

“As a business, Crawford in Australia now has every piece to the claim puzzle from first notification of loss through to litigation and recoveries, plus risk management. That means we have economies of scale and we are able to offer a broad range of expertise, excellent service and cost-effective solutions,” Mr. Hepple added.

Ms. Steele said with the changing legal landscape and evolving expectations from clients, she was excited to start the next chapter.

“Clients, for a long time now, have wanted their legal providers to work with them on their ‘more for less’ challenge. Our clients have commercial realities and as a true business partner we owe it to them to innovate and deliver in that regard,” she said.

“The One Crawford connected claims solution is unmatched in the market today and I’m thrilled to be joining early in HBA’s journey with Crawford. I am energised to start talking to clients about how we can do more for them,” Ms. Steele added.

Mr. Hepple explained the importance of a streamlined and aligned claims journey: “Having a number of different service providers involved across the life of a claim, which until now has been the reality, creates the risk of service providers going over the same ground in validating claims. And the client is paying for that potential duplication of work.

“So whether the client is a big insurer or a self-insured corporate, by working with Crawford they are assured that critical evidence is housed in the one place, there is efficiency because we are one organisation and they can have comfort that the legal eye is built into the process from the beginning. It’s this integrated model with loss adjusters, forensic accountants, TPA claims managers, building experts and lawyers, working side by side, that helps save clients’ money because we are able to help reduce the duration of claims,” he said.

Crawford & Company (Australia) Pty Limited acquired HBA Legal in November last year as part of its strategy to build a truly integrated global law firm. Adding a law firm to its existing lines of business means Crawford® can offer clients a seamless connected claims solution.

The business model of Crawford owned law firms, like HBA Legal, is that they can also operate as a
standalone firm for clients who don’t need the integrated offering.