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Insurance Business | 02 Jul 2014, 08:01 AM Agree 0
Robert Cooper from Cooper Professional Risks thinks insurers have a lot of work to do when it comes to claims departments. Read on for a blow-by-blow breakdown of one broker's experience.
  • Peter Timosevski | 02 Jul 2014, 09:35 AM Agree 0
    This article is so true to the point, I'm sure the hierarchy at Insurers would stand up & take notice if they allowed themselves to look further within their business and listen to Brokers at large and the buying public.
  • adam squire | 02 Jul 2014, 09:44 AM Agree 0
    Interesting article and I certainly agree that claims is the "moment of truth'. We work really closely with our underwriting partners to drive a great claims outcome for our clients. The common attritbutes of those that are performing well are -

    • Dedicated Broker claims staff who have an in depth knowledge of claims management and understand the value a broker brings to their client. We are their advocates.
    • Appear focussed on driving mutually agreeable outcomes for clients as opposed to following a script. Flexible, commercialy aware and not afraid to use their authority to try and keep the client working/minimise their stress.
    • Contact us to update us on a claim well before the client contacts us – proactive in communication

    Common theme through this is "people". Get that bit right and the rest is easy.
  • Bob | 02 Jul 2014, 09:52 AM Agree 0
    An incredibly deflating article for our industry. Glass half empty and self serving comments are disappointing.
    Has he ever worked in a claims department? If not don't throw stones.
    No company that I have worked for or the claims departments I worked in ever deliberately tried to stuff up claims.
    The audits done on claims try to improve the process.
    The consumer protections in place now are excellent compared to 30 plus years ago.
    From those points alone things for evolved for the better.
  • The Oracle | 02 Jul 2014, 09:59 AM Agree 0
    Robert Cooper's observations are spot-on. Perhaps some insurers who have slipped backwards in recent 'best insurer' surveys should take note.
    On the other side of the coin, we've won some clients on the back of less than professional attention to claims service from their former brokers.
  • Jade(d) | 02 Jul 2014, 10:40 AM Agree 0
    Perhaps I am being cynical but is this not a symptom of "commoditising" and "dumbing down" a product and industry that is so price driven, lacks any loyalty, poor at training and even poorer at providing a service to their customers – on both sides of the fence – broker and insurer.
  • Vic Broker | 02 Jul 2014, 11:55 AM Agree 0
    One of the best articles I've seen. I hope all insurers read this as it speaks volumes, and is a great summary of how brokers are beginning to see insurers. In the past 12 months it seems more and more insurers are playing games, citing ridiculous compliance procedures, and giving an overall poor claims service.
  • Rolf Van Dulst - Ausure | 02 Jul 2014, 02:48 PM Agree 0
    I have another for your Bad and Ugly - A client had a claim under a single policy covering both property and vehicles. There was an incident where a vehicle was stolen and recovered but equipment in the vehicle lost. A claim form was completed and documentation supplied and the insurer paid the loss of equipment after about 3 months and numerous escalations. They then asked for a second claim form to be completed if towing charges on the vehicle were to be recovered as this was a separate claims area. The client and I gave up, it wasn't worth the $300! A very poor experience from a major underwriter.
    I would point out this experience is the exception. In general I find claims personnel really want to assist in settling claims fairly and quickly but are often hampered by the systems or processes they are required to deal with.
  • Darren Trott - Claim Central | 03 Jul 2014, 09:21 AM Agree 0
    An excellent article, Robert. I'm confident many of the points you make will resonate with a large number of brokers.

    The rhetoric spoken in many cases does not match what is actually occurring when a claim is made. The claim service delivery is underpinned by the systems, processes and supply chain connectivity. While claims staff are obliged to work within out-dated systems, or must follow processes designed to make things easier for the insurer, rather than the insured customer, the same hit-or-miss claim outcomes will continue to occur.

    Re-engineering a claims operation, with a focus on the insured customer at each and every step of the process, ought to be the starting point. Instead of rhetoric, let's see who is prepared to ask "what can we do to improve our service to your customer" and then actually deliver on it.

  • Stuart Redmond | 03 Jul 2014, 10:19 AM Agree 0
    Personally I think the article is quite accurate. I particularly agree with the paragraph where we have not recommended the most competitive option based on the claims reputation and the client has agreed.

    I also don't see this as a negative article at all. If the article was to suggest ways of improvement, very few people would take notice as many insurers 'think' they already have it right. The feedback alone is an indication that many people can associate with the comments.

    Identifying these issues in our segment of the industry, we are also quite familiar with the challenges faced when clients are dealing with direct insurers. Imagine what a client's experience is when there is no intermediary to assist keep the claim on track and the client to fulfil their requirements.

    Very good article, thank you.
  • John Baker Star Underwriting | 03 Jul 2014, 10:27 AM Agree 0
    Insurers do not realise that their claims departments are potentially their biggest sales force. They see claims as a cost to be minimised rather than an opportunity to cement a relationship and gain an ongoing income from repeated renewals and growth
  • Claims Observer | 03 Jul 2014, 10:44 AM Agree 0
    Article appears to be posted in frustration on various dealings with insurers and perhaps lacks some balance.

    I must commend Adam Squires comments. Absolutely spot on.
  • Ian J | 03 Jul 2014, 12:43 PM Agree 0
    Let's not forget about the assessors also. We experience regular problems generated from the assessing fraternity. Many come to believe that they are the power and authority on a claim. It is they who, in many cases, delay claims procedure, delay reports and make brash statements to the insured. We have even had one assessor tell the insured that what they are claiming for is not a claim and left it that way - it was and was paid after we had another assessor look at the claim (it wasn't even a complicated or borderline claim - it was a claim). If a claim is denied let the insurer deny it, not the assessor. Assessors are there to assess, not give opinion so they should do their jobs and leave comment to the insurers not to the client.
    So lets not attribute the poor claim standards to the insurers in all cases, but then, it is they who appoint and continue to use these same assessors.
  • Paul | 03 Jul 2014, 12:57 PM Agree 0
    I completly understand Robert's comments. My recent experience with the Springwood bushfires however was a positive contrast. You can see how my client and I were treated by Allianz at the NIBA website. Allianz were nothing short of sensational. The very troubling aspect is that around 60 of the 230 homeowners who lost everything will not be able to rebuild. Simply because direct Insurers are allowed to sell products without advice. Insurers should be required to have a best interests test similar to financial planners.Insurers have the technology to know local ratings for bushfire and flood. The web and telephone selling always stress lowest price. The first mantra I learned from the Institute in 1968 was " insurance is to put the insured back into the position he enjoyed prior to the loss". Esentially the Insurance Contracts Act of 1984 has been subverted by time, weasel policy conditions and judgements of the Courts. High time Michael Kirby was dragged out of retirement to review the Act and make Insurers responsible for the policies they sell.
  • Scott Robertson | 04 Jul 2014, 11:45 AM Agree 0
    I'm with Ian J on this one.

    I've found some insurers have been having very poor claims service, but with the exception of 1 lovely assessing company, assessors often delay or needlessly confuse a situation.
  • An Underwriter (with a local claims team) | 07 Aug 2014, 10:48 AM Agree 0
    Why not illustrate some positive claims experiences Rob ? They do exist and are in the majority. Outstanding claims service, or merely that which meets expectations is very rarely applauded on a claim by claim basis. That is a pity, as this encouragement is always appreciated by those who never expect it.
  • John Easton | 13 Aug 2014, 10:20 AM Agree 0
    Very good article. Its this sort of approach to claims that causes insureds to question whether or not they can trust their broker to provide good service which can result in the broker losing the client as well as the insurer.
    Once the broker has lost the clients confidence they then go shopping. The way to stop them shopping is to provide fast hassle free claims service.
    If the underwriter is not providing it they will lose out.
    It is crazy that underwriters are cutting corners on claims staffing as in the end it both pushes the claims cost up and reduces their market share.
  • John | 14 Aug 2014, 11:35 AM Agree 0
    I advise my clients to ignore certain insurers because of their attitude to claims. I also constantly tell my more favoured insurers that they get most of my business because of their claims department. As a professional risks broker, the claims department is far more important than the underwriting department (ie) the policy coverage and attitude to claims are far more important than price. I avoided HIH and presently do not place any business with one well known underwriting agency because of their terrible attitude to claims.
    Good on you Robert - well said. There are plenty of people on here having a crack back. That's either because they're on the good side, or because they're on the bad side and don't like the mirror. Ask your friendly broker which side you're on. Then ask the brokers that don't use you. That's your balance
  • An Underwriter (with a local claims team) | 14 Aug 2014, 02:18 PM Agree 0
    John - 'plenty of people on here having a crack back.' Really ?? This article currently has a 75%+ approval rating. Those who have questioned the 'spray' were merely looking for a touch more balance. Buyers need the insurance market to work together, not against one another.
  • Another John | 15 Aug 2014, 11:10 AM Agree 0
    The nameless "underwriter (with a local claims team)". What "balance" are you referring to? People are pointing out that some (not all) Insurers have dropped in standard. Before other Insurers believe they should follow the same path, they should be considering what some of these different processes are doing to the whole claims service approach and ultimately the image of our industry. Of course the Insurance Market needs to work together, but that will only happen if we communicate our concerns or problems with the current processes.
    It is very easy for the Bean Counters to say centralise or move offshore, or employ junior staff, but if Insurance Brokers are finding faults with the Insurers doing this, then it is important to point this out. In this way the Insurance market is definitely working together and Robert Cooper should be applauded for raising his concerns on behalf of us all, because yes most comments on this article are agreeing with him.
  • AM | 19 Aug 2014, 10:59 AM Agree 0
    Let's not forget that the same could be said of claims departments in the major broking houses.

    If only brokers would heed some of the above messages, then we would really see improvement.

  • Leigh | 19 Aug 2014, 02:19 PM Agree 0
    You pay for claims service. You pay a premium price for premium claims service, do it on the cheap and expect problems. Brokers should vote with their feet, and if you don't experience the claims service you want, give the insurer warning, then move enough of your client base to let them know.
    In a world where $ come first, a brokers job is to sell the best product for their client, not only regarding coverage, but also the service they expect for their client. If you are the type of broker to promote the cheapest price, good luck in handling your claims.....
  • RB | 19 Aug 2014, 05:12 PM Agree 0
    I have been in the insurance industry for 30 years (20 as an underwriter & 10 as a broker) A once proud and fierce defender of the insurance industry over the last 3-4 years I have become disillusioned and are struggling to find positives for the industry future.
    The comments in relation to this article have done very little to appease these feelings.
    Brokers, underwriters and assessors all taking a swipe with no real effort to understand or concept of or making any effort to find out each others positions.

    I believe Jade (D)'s comment summarises the insurance industry's present state

    "Perhaps I am being cynical but is this not a symptom of "commoditising" and "dumbing down" a product and industry that is so price driven, lacks any loyalty, poor at training and even poorer at providing a service to their customers – on both sides of the fence – broker and insurer"

    The "dumbing down" of the industry and the lack of quality training are huge issues. I have attended many training sessions over the last 3-4 years and I have lost count of the errors and number of incorrect explanations of even some of the most basic insurance principles
    Even our own NIBA website provides an incorrect explanation of proximate cause.

    There are many people in senior positions or people that are considered to be experts that have lost the understanding of or have been mistaught many principles of insurance.
    You have only got a look at how many errors are in todays policy wordings and how often things are being misread or misinterpreted.

    The Sad thing is only a few people that read my comments will understand what I am talking about. If the so called experts or majority say it should be that way then it must be right.

    To those few people out there lets make the effort before we retire to teach as many people as we can in hope that one day we will become the majority.
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