Quakes' role in global firm's risk adjustment strategy

by Insurance Business 03 Aug 2016

Quakes' role in global firm's risk adjustment strategy

Ian Muress, CEO of International Operations at Crawford & Company, has revealed his thoughts on how the role of the loss adjuster has morphed in response to the constantly expanding risk environment, and the part that the Christchurch earthquakes have had to play in that evolution.

Muress said the New Zealand event, along with the tsunami in Japan, the floods in Thailand and the earthquake in Chile, underlined how important it was for the company to be able to mobilise quickly, to capitalise on its global network and bolster local teams.

“The earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand were catastrophic in every sense of the word,” Muress said in onthefrontlinemagazine.com.

“The overwhelming size of the event meant that we had to draw in expertise from the UK and Australia to help support our teams on the ground.

“In fact, our adjusters were on site for almost two years dealing with the resulting claims.”

He added: “In an increasingly interconnected world, we have to be able to maintain our position as a truly global provider.”

Muress also discussed some of the many things in loss adjusting that had changed significantly over the 40 years he’s worked in the industry.

In the large claims arena, the need to meet ever-growing risks had led to the creation of teams of loss adjusters that target specific risks:

“It is about being able to offer teams composed of task-specific professionals specialising in areas such as forensic accounting, or sectors such as oil & gas, cyber, or environmental liability. Increasingly, we are segmenting how these large claims specialists position themselves to ensure precise alignment with our clients,” said Muress.

In the high volume, low value claims arena, Muress said the “world of Amazon, next-day-delivery and self-service capabilities” had challenged loss adjusters to meet the clients’ expanding demands.

“They [clients] are extremely sophisticated buyers and are constantly challenging us as a business to deliver services that reflect this process-efficient, technology-reliant, fast-paced environment.”

Muress said that with the expanding scope of claims, the role of the loss adjuster was no longer just limited to investigating, evaluating, negotiating, and settling claims. They had also extended their reach along the supply chain to fulfil claims.

In the face of tough market conditions, marked by lower volumes of work, loss adjusters had responded by capitalising on new technologies, enhancing processes, improving efficiency, and expanding their remit to meet changing client needs.

Muress stressed, however, that as important as the use of leading-edge technology is in loss adjusting, hands-on-claims handling remained critical to the role of the loss adjuster.

“Where people have experienced a life-changing loss, whether a major flood or a devastating fire, what they want is someone knocking on their door, offering them support and advice, and essentially putting an arm around them during their time of need,” said Muress.

The world’s increasing interconnectedness also posed a challenge to loss adjusters, as it created potential for significantly greater losses with global ramifications.

Said Muress: “As an industry, we can’t sit back and simply hope that we are able to respond when such an event occurs. We have to be primed well in advance.”


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