Nothing lost and lots to gain – make sure your clients opt-in to ARAG

22 April 2015

Lesley Attu, Head of Product DevelopmentIt's a little while since I contributed an ARAG blog. There has been no Hansard since Parliament dissolved the end of March so new legal developments that affect our policyholders have "dried up".  However at ARAG we always have something to share with you. This article covers several topics so please feel free to dip in and out of it using the headings below to signpost you to the bits that interest you most.

FCA ban on the opt-out sale of add-on products
We support the FCA's ban on the sale of add-on products by requiring customers to opt-out of the purchase as we agree that customers should be encouraged to engage with the transaction, making an informed decision about the value of products. The alternative for customers is a lack of awareness of the protections they are insured for.

Contraction of market and potential for price increases
The effect of the ban however will result in diminishing sales of add-on products and contrary to the view held by the FCA, we believe that add-on prices will increase in time. There is a risk that policyholders who have not needed to claim under their policy may decide that they no longer need to insure, particularly where they notice the add-on premium creeping up. Such a decision may be bitterly regretted should they be faced with a legal dispute in the future.

Costs of accessing justice continues to increase
Savage cut backs to legal aid, significant new increases to court costs and the introduction of employment tribunal fees from July 2013 mean that customers that need to protect their legal rights can get greater value from their ARAG cover than at any other time but the icing on the cake is that customers who do not need to claim can benefit from additional services available when they tick-in to ARAG.

The icing on the cake -  On-line legal services
Policyholders who register at our legal services website can access our digital law guide and download many legal documents and letters, many of which are available for free. Lots of sites offer will drafting services on line. We found a single will at £28.95 and although there are other sites that offer free wills these are designed to capture personal information for marketing purposes. Users may find themselves bombarded with "buy me now" offers which may or may not offer quality and good value. We never use data for marketing purposes.  ARAG policyholders can be confident that their personal information is securely stored and only used for the purpose of document creation.

The law guide is completely up to date and can make sure that customers do not miss out because they are unaware of recently introduced changes to the law such as increased parental leave, shared maternity leave and consumer rights around buying goods and services on-line.  

Renewal retention
We recommend inviting clients who are unsure about renewing their ARAG policy to click on "How our services work" from the Home page.  They will not need to be registered on the site but will be able to enter a two minute video tour of the site showcases site features that will allow them to save money.  

The cherry on top -  our new site launches on Tuesday 28th April
The cherry on the icing on the cake is the latest version of our site which goes live on 28th April. The  problem with some on line document sites is that they are clunky to navigate. Documents are built  using "static, off the shelf" inflexible template forms that do not cater for the user's individual circumstances.  Our service suppliers created Rapidocs®, a software innovation that allows users to create responsive documents with smart content that is formulated depending on information provided by the user.

Improvements to functionality
The latest development project was informed by an independent user study which was commissioned last year. The high level goals were to keep the technologies used for the site current and fully supported, to develop its market leading functionality, and to continually improve the process of creating legal documents.

  • It will be possible for users to pass data between documents rather than re-keying which will save time and make the system easier to use.
  • Changes will also allow customer data captured from the registration process to be passed through into Rapidocs for the most popular documents, should the user want it.
  • A new 'My Services' component will unlock a host of new features: for example, an audit history (a complete log of actions performed on a document), notes (allowing comments and asides to be stored with a document), sharing, rollback to previous save, comparison of saved versions, add attachments (so that guides or flattened final drafts can be stored online alongside the Rapidocs document).
  • A future facility will allow the user to invite guests to collaborate on a document. (For example for a second person to enter data in a divorce petition or tenancy agreement) – what we call Online By Invitation (OBI).
  • Tools have been developed to prevent customers from continuing on older version of a Rapidocs Template when newer version is available. When a customer starts a document review action (i.e. submitting for review) or creates a new version of an existing document, the system will check to see if the document created is based on the very latest version available. If not, and provided that the document is suitable for such an upgrade, then the user will be given the option to pass all of their data into the latest version, which will then open for them to check. This will help ensure that the user’s documents are kept up to date with changes in the law.
  • The back space key is error-trapped to prevent a exiting the browser.  A message is triggered that asks if the user wants to ‘leave’ or ‘stay on’ the page.

A new look and feel
Policyholders will notice improved site layout which features our bright friendly new corporate design, underpinning the independence of our brand.  If you have recently ordered supplies of our literature we hope you like the refreshing new look. The legal services website has undergone a similar makeover.
Some notable key areas of improvement for the legal services website are:

  • improved language and terminology for legal terms
  • better signposting of how to start a document after purchase
  • better signposting of how to complete a document
  • better handling of postcode lookup
  • more consistent use of colour giving greater visibility to clickable text.

"Tick-in to click- in". Customers who opt-in for legal protection will not only be fully covered against costs to protect their legal rights, they can save money by accessing valuable on-line legal services too!

Lesley Attu, Head of Product Development

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