The Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) has named the first four companies to join its new category of associate members.
The ‘trade and industry partners’ are loss adjusters Davies and Woodgate Clark, claims and risk handler Gallagher Basset, accountants Ackland Webb, and expert witness provider Edward Drummond.
The aim of the expanded membership  is to widen FOIL’s representation of claims-related businesses.
Anna Wills, consultant expert witness at Edward Drummond, said; “We believe that FOIL provides one of the most comprehensive and supportive networks in the UK for those involved in all aspects of insurance law.”
David Muggridge, principal at Ackland Webb, added: “It represents an unusual and exciting opportunity to introduce ourselves to the wider insurance litigation community and to better understand the perspective of defence representatives.”
Laurence Besemer, CEO of FOIL, said: “Opening our doors to non-law firms working for insurers and compensators intensifies the defendant focus of our work and reflects the changing frameworks that alternative business structures will create. We look forward to welcoming many more firms in the coming months.”
Meanwhile, FOIL has teamed up with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) in an initiative to encourage the wider take-up of professional CII qualifications by law firm staff that deal with insurance issues on a day-to-day basis.
The bespoke training package for individuals employed by members of FOIL is designed to help insurance lawyers and paralegals “develop a deeper understanding of their chosen sector and to provide them with enhanced career prospects”, FOIL said.
Mr Besemer, himself a Fellow of the CII, explained: “We believe that having professionally qualified staff will act as a differentiator for FOIL members competing for claims-handling contracts.”
Ant Gould, director of faculties at the CII, said: “As more and more staff working for law firms take on claims-handling responsibilities, it is increasingly important that they understand how insurance works and can talk the same language as their insurance partners.”