Sometimes when I’m talking about the business we’ve created here at Peninsula over the past thirty years, people ask me what I’d pinpoint as our USP. It’s a hard one to answer as I believe there are many areas that mark us out as significantly different. But our insurance is probably the one particular service I’d highlight as a key differentiator and one that certainly made us stand out as unique in the marketplace in the early days.
The insurance product was a concept we developed when we created the Peninsula system. Nothing like it existed at the time and it really gave our offering something completely different and innovative.
Employment lawyers had operated in the same way for many years; the client, reluctantly, went to the solicitors’ offices once they had a problem that had generally, by this point, become pretty serious; the client presented the lawyer with the problem (at which point the meter started ticking); and then the lawyer would work to resolve the problem. If the issue couldn’t be settled, it would go to tribunal.
Whatever the outcome – settlement, or win or loss at tribunal, hefty fees were inevitable.
With the Peninsula system we came up with a solution that would work for real businesses. Running a real business ourselves, we’d faced these exact issues on a regular basis. We’d been hit with hefty solicitors’ fees and advised to settle at the last minute, even when we’d followed advice to the letter. We’d realised the services on offer from lawyers simply weren’t adequate for the day-to-day, commercial needs of employers running real businesses. We felt the solicitor/client model was out of date and was weighted in favour of only one party – the one receiving the fees.
So we created a new way of doing things that would put the employer first. By offering a 24-hour advice line, seven days a week, at a reasonable monthly price, problems could be nipped in the bud and didn’t have to escalate to crisis point. Meters didn’t start need to start ticking and fees didn’t need to ratchet up incrementally, because the service was always available, at the end of a phone or, in more recent years, at the end of the email too. We believed that prevention was better than cure, serving our members as a counsellor and advisor 24/7 rather than an emergency service with the fees to boot.
And, importantly in terms of our USP, alongside the advice service we invented the concept of insurance in the area of employment law. If a member has followed our advice and still loses at tribunal then we cover all fees and costs. Nothing like this existed at the time and it marked our business out as not only unique by providing this insurance, but it also demonstrated our own confidence in our product. We have such a strong belief in the advice we give that we’re prepared to offer indemnification to our members, should the worst happen at tribunal. It’s a powerful affirmation of confidence.
This doesn’t only mean employers have peace of mind, although that’s a big part of it. It also means that it gives them far more commercial, real world options. If an employee is causing trouble or internal problems or is being disruptive and having a negative impact on the business, employers have far more power and security to move them on in the best way, knowing they are indemnified. Our members can’t believe the freedom it gives them and the strength to make the right decisions for the business as a whole, rather than allowing one individual, for example, to cause a disproportionate amount of damage.
If you’re not part of the Peninsula membership and would be interested in learning more, then call an expert on 0808 163 7627. As for our members, don’t forget to use the Advice Line whenever you like. We’re here to help and would far prefer to get involved at the earliest stage possible – no problem is too small or insignificant to consult us. So call Bertrand Stern-Gillet and the advice team on 0844 892 2772 for any help that you need on employment law issues and we’ll be happy to help.