The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of significant professional and personal hardship for many across the insurance industry and beyond. Yet, amid this ever-evolving situation, the need for good news from the insurance sector as businesses adapt to support their staff, their partners and their customers has never been more essential.
From onboarding during the pandemic to making the adaptions needed to carry out learning and development online, so many individuals working in the insurance industry have taken the pandemic as a chance to truly shine during a crisis. Highlighting this, the head of client services at Gallagher Bassett, Francine Lagna-Fietta (pictured) was delighted to represent the UK client services department when they were awarded the ‘Global Team of Excellence Award’ at the ‘Global Power Gallagher’ conference.
Speaking with Insurance Business, Lagna-Fietta, who has worked in the insurance industry since 2002 when she first started as an administrative assistant based in the Gallagher Bassett London claims department, lent her insight into the key attributes shared by organisations with exceptional customer service capabilities.
“Our claims handling has a direct impact on our client’s brand so our customer focus must flow all the way through the claims journey. Protecting our client’s brand is a priority,” she noted. “Having the ability to flex delivery of your services to suit the unique requirements of each customer is vital. Understanding the priorities and outcomes your client is looking, which may change over time, and, importantly, communicating, regularly and honestly.
“In my experience, the most successful individuals in this space show real passion for what they do and a dogged determination to achieving the best outcomes for their clients. Really listening to the detail of what your client is asking for then designing and developing solutions collaboratively is essential to building strong partnerships that become invaluable in challenging times.”
Throughout her career to date, Lagna-Fietta has seen the value that Gallagher Bassett has placed on customer service and customer-centricity, with the business operating teams of people across the globe whose primary responsibility is to be the voice of the client within our business. The claims journey has been influenced in the last few years by a desire to provide an omnichannel approach to interacting with policyholders or third-party claimants. Technological solutions have provided businesses with more options than ever before to choose their preferred way to communicate with providers.
Looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Lagna-Fietta noted that this crisis has challenged the insurance industry to think differently about the way it interacts. Overnight the sector had to move from placing huge importance on face to face meetings and relationship building in-person to a completely different approach.
“Video calls have seen clients inviting you into their home and, in the main, people have been more relaxed with the stresses of the commute being taken away,” she said. “While technology has kept us connected during this period and will continue to for a while yet, I don’t believe it can ever completely replace the need for face to face meetings. The increase in video calls during this period reinforces my thoughts that we are keen to communicate but desire visual interaction - most humans are not wired to exist in isolation.”
Lagna-Fietta believes that how insurance companies respond to the changing requirements of their customers during the pandemic will likely have long-term implications for the continued success of their businesses, noting that responding to change is essential for any business.
“Where our client’s priorities and desired outcomes have changed,” she said, “then we must review how this affects the delivery of our service.”