National law firm network QualitySolicitors is to launch a new personal injury scheme designed to target claimants from higher socio-economic groups and drive down the cost of referrals, the Gazette can reveal.

QualitySolicitors Personal Injury (QSPI) is a members-only claims management-style company which will be launched in June. The scheme will be run by law firms, including Leeds firm Morrish; north-west firm Stephensons; and Bristol’s Burroughs Day.

QualitySolicitors chief executive Craig Holt said individual personal injury cases are frequently sold by normal claims management companies (CMCs) for as much as £1,000 per case, whereas QSPI’s target cost per case is £220.

‘Marketing collectives are supposed to drive down costs by taking advantage of economies of scale. In fact, most PI firms have simply become hostages to fortune with CMCs acting in an anti-competitive way and fixing prices,’ he said.

Holt added: ‘All it takes is one sufficiently large and powerful organisation to reverse the trend and start driving costs down, and these other CMCs will be forced to follow suit or lose their clients.’

The scheme’s launch will be accompanied by a television advertising campaign, seeking to appeal to a different demographic from most of the current marketing done by claims management companies, Holt said.

QSPI will run adverts on prime-time television designed to attract the so-called A, B, and C1 socio-economic groups, rather than the daytime advertising slots used by other CMCs, which are considered to attract lower socio-economic groups.

Holt said: ‘Most personal injury work is currently generated through the C2, D, and E demographic. The A,B, and C1s have been persuaded through a combination of tacky marketing by CMCs and insurer-led compensation culture propaganda that seeking compensation is somehow dirty and unsavoury.

‘By using a very different marketing approach we are confident we can both appeal to this market for the first time, while also providing a refreshing alternative for the more typical demographic who are growing tired of the identikit adverts for the CMCs.’

Martin Bare, head of legal at Morrish, said: ‘Existing CMCs have got their share of the personal injury market place and will no doubt continue to exist beyond the Legal Services Act.

‘Following the act, there’ll be new entrants into the legal market place, some of which will be well-known household names,’ he added. However, Bare said that these brands will still not be targeting the higher socio-economic groups, leaving a ‘vacuum’ to be filled by a quality-driven service under a brand.

John Baden-Daintree, fatal injury partner at Burroughs Day, said: ‘This will be a very good antidote to all of the bad and incorrect publicity about the "compensation culture."’