By way of risk management advice, a little technical ingenuity and a unique business model, HELP Forsikring’s customers are able to receive unlimited legal advice as part of their annual insurance. So far, 600,000 Danes have joined the model.
If you’ve ever been through a divorce, encountered a tricky situation at work or a disagreement over a mechanic’s bill, you’ll know that things can be unpredictable. Not least when it comes to the costs of resolving such problems.
HELP Forsikring aims to remedy that unpredictability. Following 15 successful years in Norway and Sweden, the company brought its unique legal advice model to Denmark six years ago.
“Going to a lawyer is expensive, so most people don’t bother. But this can also leave you in a tricky situation without a prenup or a will in place. Our ethos is that everything would be easier for everyone if as many people as possible—not just the few who can afford lawyers—insured themselves. Also when it comes to legal advice,” says Kristian Nordbye, Country Manager for Denmark at HELP Forsikring.
What HELP Forsikring offers is an ‘all you can eat’ model, where all legal advice is included, provided you’ve paid your annual insurance premium.
Risk management, in advance
As a result of their unique model, HELP are innovators on both legal and insurance fronts. The model works because many people paying a small amount per year is enough to ensure that those who really need help have access to it. What’s more, the company also want to challenge the way we perceive legal advice in Denmark.
For many of our customers, the alternative is not to go to a lawyer at all. We think it’s better to be proactive and do something about it before it’s too late,
Kristian Nordbye, Country Manager for Denmark at HELP Forsikring
“In general, Danes aren’t used to making use of risk management advice. We only call the lawyer when things have already gone wrong. But at HELP, we don’t want to be filing lawsuits all the time. We can handle those too, but we’d rather nip it in the bud and prevent these things from happening in the first place—it can make a huge difference,” says Nordbye.
He compares legal foresight to our physical health. If you go slightly more often to the chiropractor and get a health check once in a while, you might be able to prevent really serious injuries that end up requiring major surgery and can cause permanent damage. The legal equivalent would be ending up a lawsuit, and the toll of going through such a process—that might easily have been prevented.
“Nobody really wins in a lawsuit—it’s so difficult for everyone involved. Sometimes it’s necessary, but often it can be avoided by seeking legal advice before things go wrong,” Nordbye explains.
Technology makes it possible
So far, HELP Forsikring has 600,000 customers in Denmark who they assist with everything from inheritance, digital violation, identity theft, neighbourly disputes and family law. With such a comprehensive offering, the company depends on technology to speed things up and keep costs down.
“We’ve automated some of the slightly heavier processes,” says Nordbye. “We used to have three full-time lawyers in Scandinavia drawing up wills, prenups and so on from scratch every time, but now you can sit back and do it yourself using our templates. Our experts are still there to help you along though—we wouldn’t be able to do it with the digital solutions alone.”
Close to half of all marriages in Scandinavia end in divorce and nearly one in five people will find themselves an inheritance dispute. Whether you plan to or not, it’s likely you will end up in a situation where preventative legal action could have been really helpful. If you don’t have to reach out to anyone, but can do it by yourself using a template, this might be the thing that gets you to do it at all, according to Nordbye.
“For many of our customers, the alternative is not to go to a lawyer at all. We think it’s better to be proactive and do something about it before it’s too late,” he says.
The more the merrier
A subscription to unlimited legal advice is not something that any individual can sign up for, as HELP’s solution is distributed in Denmark to larger customer groups via telecommunications and insurance companies. The company also expects to be able to announce a partnership with Denmark’s largest insurance company in the near future.
In the rest of Scandinavia, HELP Forsikring has also partnered with trade unions, to much success. In Norway alone, they have 17 partnerships with trade unions within LO (Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions). The same is likely to happen in Denmark, according to Nordbye, especially as unions evolve.
“The role unions are being called to play is shifting. They need to remain relevant for current and prospective members—especially the younger generations now entering the labour market. Unions today need to do more than just protect their members in regard to labour law, or when an occasional dispute arises. They should also be able to assist when it comes to personal matters. Because if a union member has an inheritance case or a divorce it will likely have major financial and work-related consequences for them if they don’t get legal help,” says Nordbye.
A question of due process
If you’ve never encountered the legal system, it can be difficult to know how to get going. Where do you start? And do you even have a reason to? Ordinarily, you’d have to consult a lawyer, who will charge you on an hourly basis, so the taximeter is running as soon as the conversation begins.
That’s not how it goes at HELP Forsikring. The company is set up as a one-stop shop, where members and customers can call in, explain their needs, and within 24 hours, be put in touch with a lawyer.
Being able to access legal advice is a question of due process, according to Kristian Nordbye.
“If you find yourself in a situation where you need legal assistance, you’ll never be able to calculate in advance what it’ll end up costing you. That often means that people don’t do anything about it at all. With us, that’s not a risk. Whether it’s an inheritance case or a dispute with a neighbour, our members and customers don’t have to worry about the costs, because there is no surprise bill afterwards,” he says.