Rradar is transforming the way businesses think of insurance and lawyers

9 Aug, 2016

One of the world’s oldest professions, law works much the same today as it always has. The Legal Services Act of 2007 aimed to relax the way the sector worked, but it hasn’t led to much in the way of real disruption. Rradar is a company changing that by completely rethinking how businesses work with lawyers and insurers.

Rradar is as much an education company as it is a law firm. Rather than just working with businesses when something goes wrong, it trains them to help stop things going wrong in the first place.

Online training, seminars, one-to-one calls, podcasts and more are provided to help businesses understand and tackle the risks they’re likely to face. These risks range from health and safety, to fraud prevention. If insurers can cover something, Rradar can offer a training package that helps reduce the risk that a claim will ever have to be made.

Insurance, but not as you know it

As Rradar CEO and founder Gary Gallen describes it, this is a huge change for the legal profession. Advice on reducing risk has generally been given on an individual basis and charged for by the hour. Gallen’s company is packaging it up and offering certification that means insurers can be confident businesses are doing everything they can to protect themselves.

Rradar is a law firm in a more traditional sense too, though. It handles clients’ insurance claims, and Gallen says it’s much faster at doing so than most law firms. The training process means it already knows a lot of about how its clients operate.

Insurance giant AXA sells a policy through brokers that includes Rradar’s services, and the company deals directly with businesses too. As ‘one size doesn’t fit all,’ it produces bespoke products for individual clients as needed.

Rradar’s company philosophy, as communicated in the waiting room in its HQ in Hessle, East Yorkshire.

A lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience, Gallen saw how after his clients suffered a crisis, they’d want advice to make sure they were safer in the future. However, established firms were resistant to the idea of packaging up this advice in a way that distracted them from their tradtional way of doing business.

Gallen resigned from his job at a traditional firm to set up Rradar, and launched in 2014. He sees it as much a technology company as it is a law firm. It has been fuelled by a mixture of self-funding, some small bank lending and angel investment to date.

Big ideas, growing footprint

Gallen has no shortage of plans for improving Rradar’s offering. The company’s 15-strong technology team is working on a ‘legal advisor in your pocket.’ Powered by IBM’s Watson A.I. platform, this is slated for launch early next year. In addition to providing the right advice in the right context, the app will include a store that will let businesses buy legal template documents at a low cost.

Virtual reality-based training to help clients understand courtrooms and other legal environments is planned. And the company is trialing online forums that help clients learn from each other and suggest new ways Rradar can help them in the future.

The firm employs more than 70 staff, and is on track to top 100 by the end of the year. Based in Hessle near Hull, it opened its first satellite office in Glasgow last year. A second opened in Leeds last month. Gallen is now eyeing further expansion across the country.

The human touch

Why does Rradar need local offices if it relies so heavily on technology? Gallen says that many of his clients still want to see a human being; sometimes advice is better delivered in person. The new offices will have a ‘coffee shop’ or ‘deli’ vibe. There will be dedicated drop-in times when lawyers will be on hand to chat in a relaxed environment.

This is an example of how traditional industries can be reimagined in the 21st century. There has been much speculation about how artificial intelligence will transform the way that legal work is done. Repetitive, low-level work is particularly open to disruption. Meanwhile, Rradar is busy turning that end of the market on its head, reducing risk and making clients smarter.

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