Saga is this week launching a new range of legal services in England and Wales, aimed at revolutionising the market by making legal services more straightforward in terms of charges, language and accessibility. Saga’s entry into this market is driven by the need to shake up and improve legal services. Only 4% of 9,229 over 50s believe that the legal services market is fine as it is.*
The main concerns people have are about spiralling solicitors bills, being bamboozled by jargon and poor value for money. The top change, that 81% of over 50s would like to see, is an offer of fixed prices at the outset, rather than an hourly rate for an uncertain number of hours worked. Two thirds (66%) called for letters and documents to be written in plain English rather than legal jargon, 60% said solicitors and other providers of legal services should offer more value for money and a third (33%) think that they should have more regular updates.
One in six people say they would not be sure who to go to if they need legal advice in the future, a third say they worry about the risk of high costs and two thirds would not be comfortable that the costs they need to pay would be made clear. The complexity of finding the appropriate legal support at the right price is perhaps the reason why only 33% ** of over 50s have a Will.
Saga has listened to the concerns the over 50s have with legal services and aims to fill a gap in the market for the provision of a range of legal services based on value, certainty of cost, accessibility and excellence in customer service. Saga Legal Solutions will offer services such as Will writing, power of attorney, conveyancing and probate at fair and affordable fixed prices, agreed at the outset. Conveyancing will be charged at a flat rate for all, rather than based on the value of the property bought or sold and probate fees will depend on the complexity of the estate rather than the value, saving considerable sums for those who have benefitted from the rise in house prices over the decades, but have relatively simple financial affairs.
Another part of Saga Legal solutions suite of products is a Legal Essentials package offering clear, unlimited legal advice by phone or email, this will include a free online standard Will and £100,000 of legal cover. Saga Legal Essentials will be offered at a fixed price and people buying the product will be eligible for discounts on other Saga Legal Services.
In addition to launching these new legal products, Saga is also comprehensively overhauling the legal expenses policies bought alongside its home and motor insurance, increasing the amount of legal cover on offer, adding cover for claims against the motor trade*** and including an advice line offering unlimited legal advice, 24 hours a day.
Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive, Saga Services, commented: “The current legal services market appears to be stacked in favour of the provider rather than the consumer. We aim to change things and have developed services with the customer in mind. People want legal advice and products at a price they understand, can afford and that is agreed in advance. They want a clearer idea of what it is they are paying for; legal issues are complicated and the jargon used by the industry prevents many people from understanding the process. Finally, they want a decent service, all too often customers have to chase solicitors for action and updates and this shouldn’t be the case. It is our intention to address those needs and to make legal services more accessible and affordable to a great many more people.
The need for this kind of service is proven by the incredible response we have received after mailing only a few hundred customers to tell them we are launching the service. We have had to secure extra people to answer the phones in order to ensure we can keep on top of demand.”
Notes to editors:
#Please note: Saga Legal Services and online legal documents are currently only available for use in England and Wales
*Populus surveyed 9229 adults over 50 between 22nd and 28th June 2012
** Source – You Gov 2011
*** Cover for claims against the motor trade added to Saga’s Motor Legal Protection policy