BICO Risk Management Inc. launches personal injury litigation product
By Jennifer Pritchett, Associate Editor
Just weeks after BICO Risk Management Inc., formerly BridgePoint Indemnity Company Inc., announced its new legal expense insurance product, BICO Legal Cost Protection
™, the market has provided “overwhelming” support, says company chairman and CEO John Rossos.
“We’ve had a massively positive response from clients both converting to the new product, and those interested in purchasing new BICO insurance policies,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “It has been very favourable.”
Canadian federal and provincial financial regulators have approved the legal expense insurance product, which is underwritten by Omega General Insurance Company and reinsured by two of the largest global reinsurers who have become BICO’s key strategic partners, says Rossos.
"Being in partnership with global reinsurance partners with A+ and A++ credit ratings ensures that our clients have more-than-adequate protection in place to support our coverage," he says. "We arguably have access to more insurance capacity for legal expense insurance than any other insurer in the Canadian market."
In September 2016, BICO entered into an agreement with provincial regulators, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM), to restrict the issuance of new legal cost indemnity contracts pending the release of a new product that would be offered as a regulated insurance product, Rossos explains.
"All pre-existing BICO indemnity contracts have remained in effect and were fully administered on their original terms during the interim period when we were working on achieving a long-term solution for compliance," he says.
All outstanding BICO indemnity contracts are required to be converted to new BICO Legal Cost Protection
™ insurance policies by April 30.
"BICO Risk Management is emerging as a stronger company in light of our new strategic partnerships with Omega, insurance broker EasyInsure and two leading global reinsurers," Rossos says.
“In Canada, if a person is involved in litigation and they lose, they are responsible for paying the other side’s costs. We provide insurance, or an indemnity, to protect people against those losses in the event their claim is unsuccessful. We also ensure they have the resources to pay for their lawyers’ costs. Our insurance product provides virtually the same form of protection as we had provided under the terms of our indemnity contracts.”
Rossos says the insurance removes the pressure on litigants to settle cases with “low-ball” offers.
“The product is designed to help people go through the litigation process fearlessly and without being intimidated to accept less than fair value for their legal claims,” he says. "We facilitate access to justice by ensuring that people obtain fair compensation for their claims.
"We are pleased the regulators worked with us to provide certainty for our clients, allowing them a window to convert their original indemnity contracts to insurance policies."
Rossos says BICO is also actively working to convert its class-action products to the new insurance policy and is currently in discussions with various partners to bring new insurance products and services to the market.
"Historically, the key to our success has been our ability to lead in financial innovation, creating new products that enhance the nature and quality of the services we offer our law firm clients," he says. "We started our business offering loans and other credit-based solutions. Now as we evolve into an insurance business, we see the incredible potential to merge finance and insurance, creating interesting opportunities for us globally.
"This makes us uniquely qualified to be the only provider of legal cost insurance for the class-action market in Canada,” Rossos says.
"We are grateful for the tremendous support that we received from our clients."