Richard Faas

Richard Faas

ARAG’s push into Legal Tech

As technological advances disrupt the world of law, ARAG SE Netherlands, provider of legal insurance and services, leads the way with a unique technology incubator. Welcome to the Legal Tech Studio in Amsterdam. 

Everybody knows the problem. You receive a fine for a traffic offense that you did not commit. Perhaps the traffic lights were not working as they should, which led you to make the offense. Other times it is a case of mistaken identity. In the Netherlands, you have the option to object against this fine in court. If you win the case, the Dutch government pays for the legal expenses. But, relatively few people are willing to go through this time-consuming bureaucratic procedure. They just pay the 100 euro fine and call it a bad day.

Legal protection for everyone

But in today’s world you don’t have to take this loss so easily. Advances in optical character recognition technology and process automation make it possible to quickly analyze fines and determine in which cases a legal procedure is likely to succeed. For ARAG The Netherlands, part of one of the largest legal insurers in the world, this provides a massive opportunity to expand their service. ,,There is a lot of locked-up value that our clients can now unlock, if they have the right tools,” says Richard Faas, ARAG Netherlands Director of Innovation and head of its new incubator, the Legal Tech Factory. From a large, office in B.Amsterdam, Europe’s largest startup community on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Faas and his team scout and select startups that develop such tools to enrich its product portfolio.

“The month-over-month growth rate is amazing”

In this case, ARAG found a partner in Appjection, a Dutch startup that works on automated professional legal aid. ,,Traffic fines are a huge market with 11 million tickets a year in The Netherlands alone,” explains Appjection co-founder and CEO Max Heck. ,,We developed a tool that quickly analyses fines and automatically determines the chance of success. Based on a large dataset, we take on two-thirds of all cases submitted to us, and we win 66% of the cases we start. The month-over-month growth rate is amazing.”

From taxi drivers to Leaseplan

Appjection was the first company to join ARAG’s incubator. The team of 7, most of whom are former law students, now works at the office in B.Amsterdam where they receive day-today mentorship from ARAG’s experts and enjoys access to its large network of business partners. ,,We chose Appjection for our incubator because their product perfectly aligns with our vision,” says Faas. ,,We are a German family-owned enterprise with strong values. Ever since 1935, ARAG has made it its mission to offer legal protection to everyone. The Appjection-tool offers our clients easy additional access to their legal rights.”

“We chose Appjection for our incubator because their product perfectly aligns with our vision”

ARAG’s Legal Tech Studio – which has since signed on two more Dutch legal tech startups – offers a tailor-made incubator program to the companies it selects. ,,We never only invest but always focus on building long-term relations. That’s in our DNA,” says Faas. In the case of Appjection, his team was heavily involved in business strategy and customer research from an early stage. By tapping into ARAG’s large network of corporate enterprises, Heck and Faas were able to make the right pivot’s to scale the business. ,,We actually made frequent tours across the country to get to know our clients and identify the best opportunities,” Heck recalls. ,,With ARAG’s help, we went from talking to taxi drivers about their fines in the streets to being implemented on the website of Leaseplan, one of the largest car leasing companies in the world. And this is just the beginning.”