ARAG & AdaptingLegal
Affordable access to justice. That is the mission of legal service provider and insurer ARAG. The company handles some 70.000 cases annually. To do this as efficiently as possible – and to remain future proof – ARAG is fully committed to innovation. The first pilots with AdaptingLegal have started.
To achieve efficiency gains, ARAG – in its own innovation studio – experiments with legal tech. “ARAG is learning a lot”, says Wendy Persoon, Innovation Manager at ARAG. ” We are preparing ourselves for the future, even though we do not have a complete picture of what this future will look like. That’s why we investigate in our innovation studio about how we can optimize our processes and see how technology can play a role. By working in practice with new technologies, such as the SaaS solution AdaptingLegal, we find out what legal challenges automation entails, find out the technical challenges and what we need in terms of material and people to take further steps.”
In order to successfully implement changes, there must be sufficient support within the organization. “We work with hundreds of legal experts, who might not always be happy with the idea that part of their work is automated. That is why we approach it carefully and look for a good balance. Our legal experts are indispensable anyway. However, they do not have to do everything themselves, automation can actually help them. I am always looking for colleagues who enjoy discovering innovation, who see opportunities.”
One of those colleagues is Job de Wit, an experienced lawyer, he directs a team of legal experts at ARAG who assist clients when they have a dispute. “What I see is that we receive certain questions very often. A current example: the travel vouchers in the corona crisis. In essence, these cases often have a common legal denominator, which calls for an efficient approach. The same applies to procedures in consumer law: it does not matter much if you buy a sofa or a new bike, the legal approach to such a dispute is almost the same. And so there are still countless examples to think of. I like to deal with the question: how can we use technology best in such cases? How do we ensure that for standard matters we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time and that we only deploy resources to tasks when there is a real need for intellectual productivity or personal service, contact and people skills? That is the biggest challenge in my opinion. And for that I definitely see potential in AdaptingLegal.”
In April ARAG started a pilot for two procedures with a small volume to automate. These are tests to investigate if new technology can also be used on a larger scale within ARAG. The pilots are currently running in the back office. This means that legal experts still handle processes personally with the customer. Job would also like to try it ‘at the front’ of the ARAG business. Customers then go through a questionnaire on the website, which works on the basis of a decision tree, and at the end they immediately receive personalized information. “Then you really offer the customer something. In the current 24/7 economy, activity continues day and night. People often google for answers to legal questions at night. It is a pity that they have to wait until the next day before they can call us, while it is not necessarily required.”
Interaction IT and legal work field
But we are not there yet. The test phase is still ongoing. This phase is important, explains innovation manager Wendy. “Before we, as an organization, were able to use new technology, we also had to make the necessary preparations. Our customer should receive the same good service online as they expect from us now. Therefore we map and standardize our processes. To provide the same quality of service online we must be a 100% sure that the online procedures match our legal specifications. Together with Adapting we are streamlining the process: a party that thinks along with us. We are in contact almost weekly. It is a two-way collaboration: we help each other forward. This results into a very interesting collaboration between the legal world and IT. ”
Do not underestimate
You don’t just automate, says Wendy. “You have to think very carefully about what you do and which way you want to go. You can purchase a SaaS product, but if you don’t know how to use it in your organization, you will not get the most out of it. ” Once ARAG has properly mapped out and standardized a number of procedures, it is easier to copy the principle. And to show internally what is possible, how much easier it gets to work and how many phone calls with check questions it saves the customer service department. Then things can just gain momentum, concludes Wendy.
Wendy Persoon | Innovatiemanager @ ARAG
Job de Wit | Jurist en teamleider @ ARAG