This article originally featured on TodaysConveyancer.co.uk
Nigel Allen, Director of Total Claims Solutions & UNU Group, is a former CEO of claims management giants Slater Gordon Solutions Motor and has extensive experience growing and managing businesses within the insurance sector.
Working his way up from an initial role as a filing clerk, Nigel successfully grew Plantec Holdings into one of the UK’s leading motorcycle hire and repair operators, taking their hire fleet from 16 bikes to 600.
Most recently, Nigel co-founded Total Claims Solutions, a motor claims company offering a single point of contact for all aspects of a motor claim.
He is also a Director on the Board of UNU Group, the company behind a UK-wide free legal helpline.
Nigel explains in a Q&A below his professional background, about UNU Group and why the legal helpline was launched along with its operational structure.
What is your background and why did you set up UNU Group?
My fellow directors and I have spent over 20 years working in the legal services sector at senior level, and we have seen first-hand the changing way that consumers want to access legal services in the wake of technological advances and the disappearance of local high street firms.
Many people may refer to ‘my lawyer’, but how many people actually have a family lawyer these days? Very few in my experience.
The UNU concept is all about ‘you and your needs’. People utilise legal services on a needs-must basis, and with the demise of such advisory bodies as trade unions, a gap in the market has been created that the online space is rapidly filling.
Conveyancing has seen many changes over recent years with the emergence of conveyor-belt style, DIY, online-processing and fixed-fee models. Your house purchase is one of the most significant investments you and your family will ever make, and our aim is to make this as hassle and stress free as possible.
You mention it takes on average 130 documents and 300 emails for each conveyancing transaction. What’s the source of information for this? Have you conducted your own research/study (as mentioned in the article) and what did you learn?
This statistic is taken from an interesting piece by Peter Ambrose for Property Industry Eye, which examines inefficiencies in the conveyancing process. Ambrose analysed recent cases and discovered that, on average, they contained the 130 documents and 30 emails.
When I read this, it was clear to me that something needed to be done. That’s what the UNU Group helpline was born out of – the need to simplify legal services such as conveyancing and make them more consumer-friendly.
Ambrose’s piece can be found here: https://www.propertyindustryeye.com/opinion-piece-so-this-is-why-most-conveyancers-are-slow-and-inefficient/
Manning a 24-hour helpline has its challenges. How do you operate this? Do the personnel manning the telephones have legal experience/qualifications?
Operating 24-hours a day is a challenge, but in reality, people sleep so core call times are generally between 8am and 9pm. We do get some interesting calls outside of those hours from around the globe though.
The staff that man our telephones come from a variety of legal backgrounds, from legal executives to former estate agency staff. They also have the ability to put the caller immediately in contact with a solicitor if deemed appropriate or necessary.
We also think it’s good for our senior team to man the helpline from time to time, so you may be unlucky enough to have to speak to me or one of the other directors!
What is the pricing plan/options?
We offer a flexible pricing policy in England and Wales, for sale, purchase, both sale and purchase or remortgage requirements based upon valuation of transactions and the complexity of each individual case. We offer fixed and flexible price plans depending on the customer’s preference and the level of input they wish to have in the conveyancing process.
However, we also cover Scotland, where the conveyancing and purchase process is different. We are able to offer Scottish consumers a fixed price matrix plan.
How are you promoting the helpline?
We are currently promoting the helpline via online marketing platforms such as social media and Google Ads. We are also about to launch a partnership with a conveyancing-specific comparison website.