What marketing can tell us about the outlook for claims leads

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Claims leads took a hit when the pandemic struck, but activity is now much stronger than a couple of months ago, writes Andy Cullwick of First4Lawyers

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided a number of updates on how the claims sector has responded from a marketing point of view. As we come to the end of an unusual summer, we thought it appropriate to look ahead and see what the next few months hold for claims leads and where they could come from.

We are seeing a growth in online search trends again with all areas (personal injury, no win no fee, employer liability, public liability and road traffic accidents) higher than they were during the peak of the pandemic. Inevitably, some areas are recovering stronger and faster than others. “No win no fee” is only 18% down on normal search and the cost per click is running at around 37% more than average. Generic search terms are 7% fewer than normal but are still quite expensive at 73% more than they were previously. We expect to see more people searching “no win no fee” as budgets tighten, unemployment numbers rise and many people will look to low-cost routes to gain the support they need for a claim.

Road traffic accidents are also catching up with pre-lockdown levels, with the cost per click sitting around the level it should be and the search volume around 14% behind normal levels.

Employer liability and public liability levels of searches are recovering more slowly. This can be partially attributed to lower footfall in public spaces, but more specifically on employer liability claims there will continue to be a downturn while people still predominantly work from home and a reticence on the part of those still in gainful employment to rock the boat. This is therefore having an impact on the cost per click, with employer liability search terms still costing on average double what they normally would.

As such, we’re continuing to subsidise our panel law firms marketing spend so we can deliver high-quality claims leads, but the outlook is definitely much stronger than a couple of months ago.

Overall, volume is returning to the market, with the signs looking more positive. However, quality remains an issue. There is definitely a trend towards more speculative initial enquiries from people in financial distress looking to make claims for accidents where limitation, liability and quantum rejections are higher than normal. As such, we’re having to work much harder at vetting our claims leads to ensure their viability before passing them onto our panel law firms.

Over the next couple of months, we fully expect to see an increase in accidents and subsequent enquiries as people are out and about more. We are likely to see more localised lockdowns but these shouldn’t affect the national picture as much and the impact will be more manageable than the national lockdown. An unintended consequence is that we will probably see an explosion in medical negligence. While the NHS has done a fantastic job on Covid-19, many fear that this has been at the expense of other conditions, which will invariably lead to a spike in negligence enquiries.

One positive outcome of the pandemic so far has been the necessity for businesses to modernise, and has driven the focus on technology much more quickly across our entire sector.

Many businesses, in order to survive, have had to assess how their digital offerings best serve both their clients and the end consumer. Whether it’s offering digital meetings, online chat or investment in artificial intelligence, everyone has had to move forward and we are no different.

We have built a business that engages between law firms and the consumer to help them deal with life’s traumatic situations. Much of this relates to the way we talk and interact with the consumer and ensuring that we facilitate how they do this with ease.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and on this particular point, we think we’ll see some exciting innovations across the sector.

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