Joined up claims and underwriting

In order to help us differentiate ourselves from our competitors we actively encourage a joined up approach between our underwriting and claim teams. The reason for this is to complement the traditional claims service which is often seen as a post sale or post incident function to something that also adds value to our Insureds and underwriters at the proposal, renewal and pre-incident stage in order to enhance the prospects of developing new business, retaining existing business and increasing participation and lead position where appropriate.

Examples include meeting with brokers and insureds, business travel with underwriters, providing/participating in claims workshops clients, attending underwriter peer reviews and developing long lasting relationships with clients regardless of any claims. Not only does this provide a valuable resource to our clients and our underwriters but it also helps us demonstrate that we have the requisite skills and experience should an incident occur. With a broad scope of skills, backgrounds and personalities we believe the claims function at Hiscox can achieve this. 

The claims team share their thoughts and experiences...

Marine & Energy

Stephanie Belcourt, Senior Claims Underwriter, travelled with Tina Stowe, Marine Liability Underwriter, to Miami, the Bahamas and New Orleans in April 2014: 
“During a meeting with the risk manager at a shipyard, we were able to discuss various key claims which subsequently helped the renewal discussions on our return.  As well as forming a good relationship with the insured and the broker, being on site, we were also able to visualise how and where accidents happen and what the risks are.  We had a long tour of the shipyard, which was very interesting and educational; what we learnt about the organisation and the yard in those couple of days has made a difference to the way claims will be handled going forward.  
This was followed by a visit to a coverholder to discuss risks with their underwriter and their claims representative.  It was really useful to discuss claims together, and we were able to glean more information in respect of certain matters.  From a claims perspective, it was useful to understand the type of risks that the underwriters wanted to write and those that they are more cautious of, and the added claims knowledge and experience proved to be valuable too.  We then attended the Greater New Orleans Barge Fleet Association seminar and associated events; we met some key contacts and made a lot of new ones.  
Since travelling together, we have recognised how we can benefit from attending meetings together and try to involve each other where possible in claims and underwriting matters.”

Gavin Williams, Energy Claims Manager, accompanied the Energy underwriters on a number of trips during 2014, including Houston and Brazil:

“This was primarily to help promote our joined up approach, to meet clients and give presentations to them regarding various claims case studies with reference to upstream policy wordings relevant to them. I often accompany our underwriters and brokers when meeting clients to sell our claims service face to face, and I have participated in a number client training workshops for a major broker and I am available to do this on request.”

Since travelling with their underwriters, and experiencing the benefit of working together closely, the Marine & Energy claims team has been attending peer review meetings and at least one member of the team spends time at the box at Lloyd’s every morning. Not only does this allow them to be visible to claims and placing brokers, but it also means that they are on hand for day-to-day claims updates and queries.  The team is consulted in respect of proposed new risks, renewing policies, existing claims, wordings, endorsements and legal issues.


The Casualty claims team actively seek to work in a joined up fashion with their underwriters. This involves attending client meetings in both London and the US, travelling to conferences, conducting pre-renewal audits for underwriters and attending weekly meetings to update each other on current claims/underwriting issues. 

Members of the Casualty team are available to see brokers via appointment.

Chris Hughes, Technical Claims Manager, travelled with Joe Sweeting, Head of Casualty Reinsurance, to Toronto in May 2014 and to New York in September 2014:

“Joe and I attended the PIAA conference in Toronto. PIAA (Physician Insurers Association of America) brings together insurers of doctors throughout all 50 US states. Many of these insurers are mutuals who look to buy reinsurance from the London market. This conference was a great opportunity for us to meet a large number of clients and potential clients in a short space of time. As those clients are themselves insurers, Joe was able to focus on discussions with their underwriters and I was able to speak with their claims managers. Having both of us there worked really well.

In September Joe and I visited a client in New York.  We spent some time reviewing claims and underwriting files and, at the client’s invitation, I made some suggestions as to how it could improve its claims procedures. In doing so, I was able to suggest implementing some processes that we ourselves had recently implemented at Hiscox and to give some first hand examples of the benefits those changes brought to us.

Clients, whether they are insurers or not, tend to greatly appreciate us taking the time to visit them. These meetings help build rapport, put a face to a name and can really help cement a commercial relationship. This can prove vitally important when dealing with complex claims issues that might otherwise have the potential to put that relationship under strain. Obviously, given the fact that most of our casualty clients are located in North America, such visits are not feasible as a matter of course. However, when properly targeted, the ultimate benefits to the client and Hiscox (claims and underwriters) can be significant.”

The result: Hiscox is committed to investing in improving the service it provides to its brokers and customers; our relationships have improved and communication is better. It is a work in progress, but we have already seen the benefits. Working together, we can achieve excellence in execution and a better service for our clients.

In terms of renewals, it makes sense for our insureds to talk to people who handle their claims. Claims personnel have attended renewal meetings and have been able to add real value to discussions, especially when the claims have been complex and technical.  
The Hiscox London Market claims team has been consistently rated in the top quartile of the Gracechurch survey, which appraises the views and opinions of claims brokers in every class of business around the market. Last year, Hiscox achieved second place in the survey, which was a huge achievement.
The claims team is working hard to stay within the top ranks of the individual broker surveys and the Gracechurch survey. We have a dedicated ‘Client Service’ working group with a representative from each class of business that meet regularly to discuss our strategy going forward.  We are continuously looking for new ideas and we are keen to receive feedback from brokers both on a formal and informal basis on how we can improve our service; whether this be visiting regional offices, sharing management information, or anything else which you think may be of benefit.

If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can improve our service, or how we can complement yours, please contact one of the following people:

Gavin Williams: 
Stephanie Belcourt: 
Chris Hughes: 

All comments