Twelve tips for claims handlers

You need comms skills, tech ability and emotional intelligence

Twelve tips for claims handlers


By Daniel Wood

Many industry professionals would agree that the claims department is one of the most, if not the most, important part of an insurance business. Fulfilling the promise of an insurance policy and retaining customers depends on efficient and fair claims handling and settlement.

Most insurance businesses touch the claims process in some way. Insurers have their own claims teams, brokers deal with claims and third-party service providers also play a major role.

The upcoming Insurance Business Australia Awards 2024 recognises claims teams excellence through several awards.

“Of all the awards that we get to choose from, claims teams is probably the most aligned to our business,” said Daniel Lukich (pictured above). “So to be able to sponsor and support claims excellence is pretty important to us.”

Lukich is a sales and strategic relationship manager for AAMC, one of the country’s largest providers of motor accident management services. He says his firm manages more than 120,000 motor accident claims each year, many from intermediaries and brokers.

AAMC is sponsoring the Claims Team of the Year Award that recognises the insurer with the best claims team in Australia. Last year’s winner was Berkley Insurance Australia.

Adam Squire’s team won last year’s Best Customer Service Award. Squire (pictured below) is Gallagher’s head of claims in Australia. He is also awarded as one of the Top Insurance Executives and Professionals in Australia. Learn more here.

“This is all about the whole team and the way they work together and the way they responded to catastrophes,” he told Insurance Business. “They’re incredibly passionate about getting claims paid, doing the right thing by customers and supporting our brokers.”

Comments from the judges supported Squire’s assessment, referring to “professional processes” and “a clear passion to deliver financial outcomes for clients at a time of need.”

The example of these Insurance Business Award winners, combined with online claims focused source material, have made it possible to compile a list of 12 tips for claims handlers.

12 tips for claims handlers

  1. Develop strong communication skills
  • effective communication is key
  • clearly and empathetically communicate with policyholders, claimants and other stakeholders
  • keep them informed about the status of their claims and explain the process in a way they can understand
  1. Prioritise customer service
  • focus on providing excellent customer service
  • be responsive to inquiries, address concerns promptly and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • a positive claims experience can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty
  1. Understand policy coverage
  • have a comprehensive understanding of insurance policies and coverage terms
  • this knowledge is crucial for accurately assessing claims, explaining coverage details to policyholders, and making informed decisions during the claims process
  1. Embrace empathy and sensitivity
  • recognize the emotional impact that insurance claims can have on individuals and businesses
  • approach claimants with empathy and sensitivity, particularly in situations involving personal injury, property damage, or other distressing events
  1. Stay informed on industry trends
  • keep abreast of industry trends, changes in regulations and advancements in claims processing technology
  • continuous learning ensures that claims handlers remain effective in their roles and can adapt to evolving industry standards
  1. Efficient documentation and record-keeping
  • maintain thorough and accurate records of claim details, communications and decisions
  • well-documented claims files not only facilitate efficient claims processing but also serve as essential records for audits and regulatory compliance
  1. Collaborate with other departments
  • foster collaboration with underwriters, risk management, legal and other relevant departments within the insurance company
  • this collaboration ensures a comprehensive understanding of the insurance process and facilitates smoother claims resolution
  1. Adopt technology for efficiency
  • utilise technology tools and systems to streamline claims processing
  • automation, data analytics, and digital platforms can enhance efficiency, reduce errors and improve overall claims management
  1. Manage time effectively
  • prioritise tasks and manage time efficiently to meet deadlines and provide timely responses to claimants
  • a well-organised approach ensures that claims are processed promptly and in accordance with policy terms
  1. Continuously improve decision-making
  • learn from each claim experience to enhance decision-making skills
  • regularly assess the outcomes of claims and identify opportunities for improvement in processes, policies, or communication strategies
  1. Stay professional in challenging situations
  • handle difficult or contentious situations with professionalism and objectivity
  • maintain a calm demeanour, even in challenging circumstances and seek resolution through open communication and negotiation
  1. Stay ethical and compliant
  • adhere to ethical standards and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements
  • upholding ethical conduct in claims handling builds trust with policyholders and helps the insurance company maintain a positive reputation

The 2024 Insurance Business Australia Awards are taking place on May 3 at The Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. You can nominate the industry’s high achievers for an award here. Nominations close in two weeks.

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