The firm will become part of the company’s legal services arm in the landmark acquisition
Global independent claims management giant Crawford & Company has picked up HBA Legal as part of its acquisition of HBA Group.
The move is a step in Crawford’s initiative to expand its legal services arm, Crawford Legal Services (CLS), not just in the UK but internationally as well. CLS is an independent legal practice under the Crawford banner, and plays a crucial role in Crawford’s claims management process through its handling of volume, niche, complex or high-value claims, HBA Legal said.
By acquiring HBA Group, CLS gains a foothold in the Australia market.
“This acquisition will enable both Crawford and HBA Legal to better meet the needs of our local and global clients. Working together, our aim is to create a leading legal service partner to our clients with entrepreneurial spirit, talented people, solid financial performance and geographical reach,” said Jason Spencer, CLS managing director and the new chair of the HBA Legal board.
“We see significant opportunity to expand our legal service capabilities in Australia. With its market standing, geographical reach and depth of expertise, HBA Group provides a fantastic platform from which to restore and enhance lives, businesses and communities,” Crawford president Joseph Blanco said. “Since the launch of Crawford Legal Services in the UK in 2016, we have gained huge market traction by providing a powerful connected legal service and highly cost-efficient solution to our clients. I am delighted to be able to offer this level of service to the Australia market through HBA Group.”
HBA Legal will provide twofold services – continuing to act as an independent law firm while becoming part of an end-to-end solution for Crawford’s clients. The firm retains its full team, with co-founders Brett Ablong and Nathan Hepple serving as managing director and director of strategy and growth (APAC), respectively, within CLS.
“The service that HBA’s existing clients are accustomed to will not change as Crawford has invested in us because they like what we do and how we do it. There will be growth in the coming months and years, but we are not changing the fundamentals of how we do business or the manner in which we serve our clients,” Hepple said.
Ablong highlighted the unique opportunity provided to the firm through its connection to Crawford.
“We are excited about taking HBA Legal to the next level and the enhanced opportunities for our clients, our people and our business. They are now part of a global organisation with a clear disruptive vision, and I can’t think of another business where the opportunity is quite the same,” he said. “The health of our business will benefit from this by way of having the backing of a global organisation in terms of access to enhanced technology, broad range of expertise and growth support. There are also endless possibilities to enhance our offering to clients because we can develop a package of services utilising Crawford expertise that no other traditional law firm can provide.”
“HBA Legal joining Crawford is wonderful news and gives us clear market differentiation. We are the only loss adjusting company in Australia to have their own law firm, and after seeing the success of Crawford Legal Services in the UK, I am excited about the potential for both Crawford and HBA Legal in Australia,” said Crawford Australia President Tim Jarman.
HBA Group includes HBA Legal, claims management business Paratus and legal process and tech provider Pillion.