The story of Lemonade’s “world record” three second claim caused me to reflect on a number of ‘legaltech’ issues that flickered across my screen in the last month or so. Firstly the launch of the ‘smart Will’ by Legacy: downloadable to your smartphone for £5 per month. Legally irrelevant without the hard copy and ‘wet’ signature duly witnessed and expensive to boot where an old fashioned (effective) will can be obtained for just a few months’ worth of fees. But that said it does show where the law may be struggling to keep up with the virtual world. An e-probate that supplied the password to your next of kin for your vast Apple iTunes library of content would get around the “virtual” problem that was worrying Bruce Willis in 2012.
Wind forward perhaps just a few years to the new e-law that recognised a digital will and couple that with a blockchain database that recognised the e-death certificate and virtual wishes of your late relative and ‘ping’ the estate can be distributed without the need for those pesky and expensive lawyers or a Probate Registry. Administration of the estate is as easy and convenient as an automated email.
The above scenario is pie in the sky fantasy but the law recognises that there is a problem. Intestacy is a symptom of the failure of access to justice that manifests itself in many ways. The review of the Civil Courts Structure by Briggs LJ and the recommendation of a simplified Online Court goes directly to the issue that most consumers cannot enforce their legal rights because of the cost and complexity of our present processes. We are someway from even the first stages of the Online Court but, reflecting the efficiencies that can be achieved, and the improvements to access to justice that will result, there is significant Government funding for this project: change will happen.
And where might that change take us? Even without Lemonade’s algorithms the process of pursuing the less serious motor injury claim has since the introduction of the MoJ Claims Portal become more and more simplified. The insurer of a motor vehicle can be identified through the Motor Insurance Database and so the telematics app with automatic number place recognition and some simple motion capture and GPS data will sort out the first notification of loss, add some AI for analysis, link to the healthcare app for diagnosis and the liability decision is made before the replacement hire car has been valeted and the physio is booked, the Uber cab ordered and interim payment in the account before the injured party is home. Blockchain technology and the Lemonade patented algorithms sort out the fraud risk. And if none of this works click “send” to the online court for resolution. Fantasy? Certainly but so too was the three second world claims record.
Written by Terry Renouf, consultant