Crawford & Company® acquires HBA Group

Date: November 5, 2020


Australian legal enterprise becomes part of Crawford Legal Services


LONDON (November 4, 2020) Crawford & Company® (NYSE: CRD-A and CRD-B), the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions to carriers, brokers and corporates is pleased to announce the acquisition of Australia-based HBA Group as part of the continuing expansion of its Crawford Legal Services (CLS) in the UK and globally.

HBA Group comprises HBA Legal, a legal services enterprise which partners with underwriters, brokers, insurers and self-insured companies across Australia and the London market; Paratus, a claims management business; and Pillion, a legal process and technology provider.

Presently in the UK, CLS is an independent legal practice and an integrated part of the Crawford & Company claims management process providing professional and technical support in the handling of volume, niche, complex or high-value claims. The solution leverages the company’s global infrastructure and expertise and forms a core component of Crawford’s end-to-end connected claims solution.

Through the acquisition of HBA Group, CLS will locally become a leading legal services partner to clients across Australia, providing a unique and disruptive business-to-business integrated claims and legal model for the Australian legal and insurance markets. The company will be able to leverage Crawford’s global capabilities as well as benefiting from the company’s continued investment in innovative technology to support faster processing, greater efficiency and enhanced client service.

Commenting on the acquisition Joseph Blanco, president, Crawford, said: “We see significant opportunity to expand our legal service capabilities in Australia. With its market standing, geographical reach and depth of expertise, HBA Group provides a fantastic platform from which to restore and enhance lives, businesses and communities. Since the launch of Crawford Legal Services in the UK in 2016, we have gained huge market traction by providing a powerful connected legal service and highly cost-efficient solution to our clients. I am delighted to be able to offer this level of service to the Australia market through HBA Group.”

Brett Ablong, managing director, HBA Group, added: “Becoming part of CLS and in turn the broader Crawford group creates huge potential for us to take HBA Legal to the next level for our people and clients. I am excited for our people as they are now part of a global organization, which will provide career and personal development opportunities. Our clients will also be able to access the full range of services available in Crawford for a connected claims service that no traditional law firm can provide. I believe the possibilities are endless.”

About Crawford®

Based in Atlanta, Crawford & Company (NYSE: CRD‐A and CRD‐B) is the world’s largest publicly listed  independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions to carriers, brokers, and corporates with an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries. The Company’s two classes of stock are substantially identical, except with respect to voting rights and the Company’s ability to pay greater cash dividends on the non-voting Class A Common Stock (CRD-A) than on the voting Class B Common Stock (CRD-B), subject to certain limitations. In addition, with respect to mergers or similar transactions, holders of CRD-A must receive the same type and amount of consideration as holders of CRD-B, unless different consideration is approved by the holders of 75 percent of CRD-A, voting as a class. More information is available at

About Crawford Legal Services™

Crawford Legal Services (CLS) is an Alternative Business Structure and was formed in the UK in 2016. Crawford Legal Services operates out of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. It has seen rapid growth in the UK with expertise in fraud, professional indemnity, financial risks, international travel, foreign jurisdictions, and subsidence. In 2019, Crawford Legal Services wasnamed Best Law Firm at the British Claims Awards.

About HBA Legal

HBA Legal was founded in 2011, with just 11 people in Sydney and Perth. Today, it also has a presence in Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle. HBA Legal was formed to challenge the traditional law firm model and instead bring clients fast, efficient, and commercially savvy legal services. HBA services underwriters, brokers, insurers, insureds, and large self-insured companies. It is known as one of Australia’s leading defendant-only legal practices, forging the way in creative problem solving and commercially oriented solutions. In 2017 legal entrepreneurs Brett Ablong and Nathan Hepple went on to create the HBA Group also comprising claims management business Paratus, and legal process and technology provider Pillion. In alliance with Paratus and Pillion, HBA offers clients a seamless approach to legal, claims and risk management, delivering significant bottom-line results.



A message to our clients & supporters, from HBA Legal co-founders Brett Ablong & Nathan Hepple:

“An exciting new era has begun.

Crawford acquiring HBA Legal is game changing for the insurance industry in Australia and unique in the legal landscape.

We are now part of a law firm (Crawford Legal Services) embedded within the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions to insurance companies and self‐insured entities.

HBA Legal will remain a stand-alone legal provider in terms of servicing clients as we have for the past decade (clients who don’t necessarily have interaction with any other part of the Crawford business).  But this change means we will also be able to service existing Crawford clients who want their end-to-end claims handling, including legal, managed under the one Crawford roof.

For our existing clients, the service you have come to know and appreciate from us is not changing. What we do and how we do it will remain the same.  All our people are still with us, which means the same great team that has been servicing you up until now, will be there for you into the future.

The leadership of HBA remains the same. While we are under new ownership, we remain under the same local leadership. Brett remains as HBA Legal’s Managing Director, while Nathan takes on a Strategy & Growth role (Asia Pacific) for Crawford Legal Services, working alongside Crawford senior management to grow Crawford Legal Services internationally.

HBA Legal retains its name but we are part of Crawford Legal Services which also has a presence in the UK (offices in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool).

Becoming part of Crawford is entirely consistent with, and enhances, our approach to simplify and solve client’s legal problems.

With Crawford, we are building a stronger HBA for our people and our clients.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.”

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