AXA is providing legal advice directly through a virtual assistant app, which will improve the accessibility of legal advice for SMEs that need it most, according to GlobalData Financial Services.

AXA has launched the insurance industry’s first legal and risk advice app, Grace, in partnership with legal experts rradar. The app is driven by machine learning and has been developed to provide businesses with the knowledge and experience of legal risk and management experts through a virtual assistant.

The app will initially focus on the UK market, and at present is exclusive to AXA customers registered for online support through the group’s management liability product.

It has started by covering HR practice and employment law, but according to AXA it will expand to include legal and risk modules such as health and safety law, corporate manslaughter, property law, environmental law, waste management duties, and contract law.

Modules will include video content, online training, and documents to help customers build knowledge and manage their risk.

A total of 45.3% of SMEs pay for extra legal advice services according to our 2016 UK SME Insurance Survey.

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Legal advice costs

Legal advice is often costly and can be seen as difficult to access for small businesses. By AXA expanding its range of services to include legal advice for clients will therefore be beneficial.

The availability of advice through smartphones has also widened the ability to get advice anywhere at any time. The app will revolutionize how legal advice is accessed and administered.

The app is making use of modern technology features. Grace will evolve and become more intelligent with use due to its machine-learning functionality, which will help to personalise advice and content for the user.

The app will be continually developed to ensure advice is tailored to changing customer needs and an evolving legal landscape. It is also making use of speech technology, whereby users can have their legal questions answered either by typing on screen or asking Grace a verbal question.

AXA’s app will bring legal expertise directly to small businesses that need it most. It is a low-cost solution to adding value to low-premium clients.

It comes when businesses are facing increased regulatory change in terms of minimum wages, pensions, Brexit, and business rates. The SME market is very competitive, so the new app will help differentiate AXA as a provider.

More insurers should seek to develop a similar service to improve access to legal advice for their customers – and not just in the commercial space.

Proposed increases in limits for small claims portals mean more claims would be processed through the small claims court, where there is no legal representation. There is an opportunity to provide legal advice for these incidences.

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