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22 December 2011

Pioneering claims business wins backing from The North West Fund

Press Release 22nd December 2011

The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by EV, has made a substantial investment in a business pioneering a new model in personal injury claims.

InterRisk Solutions was founded by insurance law specialist Mark Brickles to provide an alternative to the conventional system in which claimants use a solicitor on a 'no win no fee' basis. Instead, it allows them to manage the claim themselves by guiding them through an online process with support from a telephone helpline.

The company acts as an 'honest broker' between claimant and defendant and offers benefits for both sides. Claimants can use the service free of charge and typically receive their compensation in as little as three months, compared with around 18 months using the conventional route. The defendant, or their insurer, will foot the bill and saves up to 80 per cent on legal fees.

The funding from the North West Fund for Venture Capital, which is invested under the £185m evergreen fund provided jointly by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is part of a larger investment round, with the remainder coming from private investors. The money will be used to develop the business further - including the creation of a new UK claims web portal that utilises a bespoke automated claims system.

InterRisk Solutions, which is based in Wirral, was set up by Mr Brickles two years ago with support from angel investors. He has now been joined by incoming chairman Andrew Redmond, who, as CEO of personal debt solutions provider Debt Free Direct, led the flotation of the business on AIM and developed it to become a £250m enterprise.

InterRisk Solutions has already won the support of a number of large companies who are regularly subject to claims. Transport operators, retailers, local authorities and utility businesses have already signed up to the service in order to reduce the cost and time spent dealing with claims.

The total value of personal injury claims in the UK was £10.4bn in 2008 and is forecast to rise sharply by 2013. However there has been increasing concern about the cost of legal fees. The government has already proposed radical changes to the current system. InterRisk Solutions will provide a quicker route to redress for genuine claimants at a substantially reduced cost to the defendant.

Richard Young, Fund Manager for The North West Fund for Venture Capital, commented: "The huge cost of legal fees in personal injury cases has long been a concern within the claims industry. InterRisk Solutions provides a much more efficient system and offers benefits for both claimants and insurers alike. The company has great potential and the experience of the new Chairman will be a real asset. The business could also potentially benefit from any future changes in legislation."

Mr Brickles said: "InterRisk Solutions aims to revolutionise the claims management industry by pioneering a new and more ethical business model. The initial investment from business angels has enabled us to put the concept into practice and prove its viability. This latest round of funding will allow us to take the business to the next level."

The North West Fund for Venture Capital has completed nine investments to date with a total value of £2.4m.

Natalie Meadowcroft of Brabners Chaffe Street LLP, advised EV on the investment, while John Spofforth of O'Connors LLP advised InterRisk Solutions.


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