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Ontario approves licence of legal expense insurance company

|Written By Andi Balla

Companies that might not necessarily be big enough to have a budget for an in-house counsel team or full legal protection could turn to legal expense insurance to fill their needs as more choices become available in the market.


Last week, Ontario regulators approved the insurance licence of a company that caters to small and medium-sized businesses that want legal expense insurance. Federal regulators had done so earlier.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario approved the insurance licence for the Canadian subsidiary of European legal insurance giant DAS Group, which specifically covers legal expenses for small and medium-sized companies as well as individuals and vehicle owners.

The Canadian market for legal expense insurance is underdeveloped outside of Quebec, and the entrance of DAS Legal Protection Insurance Co. Ltd. could extend legal services to small businesses and people that would otherwise not be able to access legal assistance in disputes.

Its CEO, Barbara Haynes, tells InHouse the insurance policies cover costs ranging from solving a contract dispute to bringing an expert witness to court. The company, in essence, pays to defend policyholders’ legal rights, following an unforeseen event. It also offers direct basic telephone advice in labour or contract disputes.

The company’s experience comes mainly from Europe, which also represents the majority of the $10-billion legal expense insurance global market.

“The main areas we’ve dealt with in Europe have been employment disputes and business contract issues, and we don’t expect it be any different in Canada,” says Haynes. “Companies with no in-house lawyers would be more attracted to these policies.”

Policies also cover things like legal defence, court attendance expenses, statutory licence protection, property protection, bodily injury, and tax protection.

DAS Canada says it is able to offer policies only in Ontario right now, but plans on expanding to Alberta and British Columbia in the next few months, as it is in the process of finalizing provincial licences in those two jurisdictions.

As it does elsewhere in the world, DAS will sell its policies through insurance brokers, not directly.

In addition to paying policyholders’ legal costs following a dispute, all policies provide unlimited access to a legal advice helpline, which provides business-related legal advice, including on tax issues.

DAS says it has agreements with several law firms in Ontario to ensure that policyholders get the most appropriate legal representation possible for their claim.

DAS Group has been specializing in legal insurance for the past 80 years, and Canada is the 18th country where the company has a presence, says Haynes.

  • Legal Expense Insurance

    Jas Basra
    Hi Barry, I'm Jas Basra from DAS Canada and I read your comments with interest. You've provided some interesting thoughts, and I'd like to point out a few things from our perspective.

    DAS legal expense insurance policies cover all legal expenses arising from a variety of disputes that policy holders may be involved in for an affordable premium. Policies are summarized online at www.das.ca, and we encourage anyone seeking clarification to contact us.

    Over the past 80 years, DAS has provided legal expense insurance to millions of satisfied customers in many countries and we look forward to providing legal expense insurance to our Canadian customers.

    Ultimately, purchasers have the choice to decide what products best suit their needs and we believe our insurance policies provide great protection and benefits to our policy holders. We'd be happy to continue our discussion with you.
  • Legal Expense Insurance

    Barry Young
    Hi Jas, noted your comments about mine.

    Wish someone had drawn them to my attention before I found them by accident.

    The launch of your product is suggested by some as a part of the solution to Canadian's need for affordable access to Justice.

    I just don't see how this is going to be accomplished.

    Unless I missed something on your web site, why indications of pricing or how affordable your services will be?
  • Legal Expense Insurance

    Jas Basra
    Thanks for your comment Barry,

    DAS's services in other markets around the world demonstrate that our products provide policyholders with affordable ways to access the justice system.

    Policy premiums can be obtained by contacting us or by speaking with one of the many registered insurance brokers throughout Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia that have registered with DAS.

    We're pleased to be in the Canadian market and are confident that Canadians will enjoy the services that DAS Canada provides.
  • Legal Expense Insurance

    Barry Young
    In case you have missed it affordable legal assistance has been available Canada-wide to Canadain individuals and small businesses for at least tow decades by a few providers including Law Protection Inc., the provider that I am associated with.

    Legal assistance providers link Canadians with experienced affordable lawyers!

    Legal Expense Insurance would be a good thing if it wasn't for the contract fine print. Do some actual research, check out the Quebec and European contract versions and you will find that contract exclusions and restrictions exclude many from coverage,just like most other Insurance products.

    Legal Expense Insurance is much more expensive than legal assistance services and like all Insurance products, many users find themselves excluded from coverage by the fine print just when they need it.

    Check out our web site www.lawprotector.ca

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