A business describing itself as one of the world’s biggest claims management companies has arrived in the UK to offer a full range of legal services.

Crawford & Company has been granted a licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to practise as an alternative business structure.

It is one of the first US firms to take advantage of England and Wales' more liberal regulations on non-lawyer ownership and one of few claims management companies to have pledged to offer legal services directly.

The company, which trades on the New York stock exchange, has not confirmed how big its UK operation will be, but it will offer a full range of legal services in conjunction with its UK subsidiary, Milton Keynes-based Broadspire UK.

Clive Nicholls, Crawford chief executive for the UK and Ireland, said: ‘This is an exciting new chapter in the development of our business, afforded by legislation1 that allows Crawford to own its own law firm.

‘Our core legal services will span everything from litigation and technical support in handling niche, complex or high value claims, to all aspects of volume motor and transport claims, liability, and property claims.’

Jason Spencer (pictured), managing director of Crawford Legal Services, said the company moved into the UK legal market in response to demand from brokers, insurers and corporate clients for a more ‘expansive claims solution’ that encompasses legal support.

‘We have spent a long time developing a sustainable business model, and we look forward to unveiling the Crawford Legal Services brand to the industry,’ he added.

‘We aim to offer a legal model with a difference. Our ABS structure, supported by the Crawford UK infrastructure, creates an unrivalled offering and commercial flexibility without losing the quality and value of an independent legal practice.’

Meanwhile, another claims management firm and legal expenses insurer has become the first business from Northern Ireland to be licensed in England and Wales by the SRA.

MIS Claims, which will be based in Manchester, said it had come to this jurisdiction because it was becoming more expensive to outsource legal services functions.

The company has around 500,000 policy holders in Ireland and the new ABS will exclusively serve to provide legal advice to those customers.

Managing director Alan Baillie added it had been an ‘absolute pleasure’ to work with the SRA during the authorisation process.