Karen Beales has been appointed managing director of Financial & Legal Insurance Company Ltd [FLI], the specialist legal expenses insurer that is part of the Drive Further Collective.
Beales will join FLI from February and report to Drive Further Collective chief executive Nick Garner. She replaces Mike Timmons, who has stepped down from FLI to go to a new role elsewhere in the industry.
Nick Garner said: “I am thrilled to welcome Karen to FLI. She is a highly experienced CEO with a very strong background in leading businesses.
She will be responsible for setting out and achieving our long-term objectives for FLI after the implementation of the Civil Liability Act, which is certain to bring significant changes to the LEI sector.”
Cheadle-based FLI was established in 1995 and writes ATE and BTE insurance well as homebuyer insurance. FLI is regulated by both the PRA and the FCA, and also provides capacity for its own products and for partners.
Garner added: “I want to thank Mike Timmons for his contribution to FLI and wish him every future success. Karen inherits a strong position for FLI, after we’ve grown our GWP by nearly 20% during last year, giving us an excellent platform to take advantage of changes to the LEI market in the post reform world.”
Karen Beales said: “I am really looking forward to assisting Nick and FLI in a rapidly changing market. I have enjoyed my time in consultancy, but the opportunity to lead a team again is irresistible, especially at such an important time for the industry.”
Karen explained that the government estimates that 25 million consumers currently have a LEI policy, but she believed consumer demand for legal expenses cover is certain to grow after the reforms are implemented, because customers making a claim for minor injuries will no longer be able to get their legal costs paid for by the at-fault insurer.
She said: “Part of our task will be to lead efforts within the wider industry to educate consumers about the merits of having LEI cover. It is a valuable product but it is widely misunderstood, and that needs to change.”