2015 marks a memorable milestone for TheJudge as we celebrate our 15th year as a leading name in the litigation funding and insurance market.
During the past 15 years we’ve been engaged to arrange the funding and/or litigation insurance for an aggregate claim value that comfortably exceeds $50billion, which is probably the largest of any company in the market. This has meant hundreds of millions of placements into the market.
Having handled the funding and insurance needs for thousands of commercial disputes, we’ve witnessed many of the industry’s highs and lows as cases win and lose. For many insurers, and more recently funders, it has been a rollercoaster journey of emotions from the feeling of elation after backing a winning case which the stakes are high to the depression the flows from losing.
This rollercoaster journey has seen many casualties. Numerous insurers and funders have entered and exited the market during this time. It can be as simple as losing two or three large cases in a row that can alter a company’s trajectory in the market. Even the largest insurer or funder will have questions to answer were they to lose three cases at £5m exposure a piece. Such is the volatility in this industry that it goes someway to demonstrating the caution often seen in the underwriting process.
The human side to the industry is often overlooked. Many underwriters and funder personnel have lost their jobs due to poor performance. Arguably that poor performance can sometimes simply be bad luck. After all these underwriters are rolling the dice on litigation outcomes, and while they hope they have the odds stacked in their favour (thanks to an endorsement by an eminent Queen’s Counsel perhaps) cases do still lose. In fact statistically the loss ratio is often far worse than the expectation expressed by most lawyers who are very often under the impression that most cases settle. Insurers and funders face a high degree of adverse selection, which significantly skews those statistics. The volume of the larger cases that funders and insurers support that reach trial are statistically far higher than the legal industry as a whole, which for underwriters or funders can mean many a sleepless night.
As a company, we’ve had to ride the storms of significant market exits, as they leave a void of capacity that we’ve repeatedly needed to fill by enticing new companies into the market to ensure we can continue to meet the demand of our lawyer client base.
Our message to law firms has always been to keep an eye on the market and never become too reliant on any one source. Underwriters and funding personnel move around the industry, and companies themselves come and go. Ensuring continuity and product competitiveness means keeping a close eye on the market. We’ve seen countless products launched during our 15 year history, each promising to be the new best thing. However, history has shown that any new development often simply becomes the benchmark for further development, as companies compete to secure the business.
As a broker, we are not the party writing the cheques when cases lose but we do share many of the same financial challenges as those faced by our markets. One of the greatest challenges TheJudge has had to face as a business during the past 15 years is the fact that by and large our entire income is contingent upon the successful outcome in these cases. That is we are reliant on the sound judgment and performance of the funders, insurers and of course law firms we work with. The diversity of our work has helped. With a strong client base in commercial litigation, international arbitration, patent litigation and anti-trust, we’ve managed to maintain a steady and balanced book of business.
Our 15th year anniversary is an opportune moment to reflect on how this once small and humble market, which would struggle to write more than £500,000 for a given case, is now capable of writing in excess of £20m against a single risk. A market that started with less than 5 capacity providers now has in excess of 30 serving the lawyer community worldwide.
We of course take nothing for granted and recognise that our success and achievements to date have only be made possible by the loyalty shown to us by our clients.
With exciting plans ahead, we look forward to continuing to evolve the company to meet the needs of future demands of all clients. If you have any questions or would like our advice on sourcing funding or insurance for a case, please contact us on +44 (0)845 257 6058 or email us:
Matthew Amey – Matthew.firstname.lastname@example.org
James Delaney – email@example.com
James Blick – firstname.lastname@example.org