Making a difference through claims
Despite the improving economic climate, it still appears to be the case that, for most insurance buyers, the price of a policy remains the largest single determining factor when choosing an insurer. However, if there is little difference in price then how do insurers distinguish themselves from the competition? Should we even try when the market is so fixated on pricing? We think yes. We believe passionately that how a client and its claims are handled is fundamental in giving the London Market its competitive edge.
Paying claims quickly
Many brokers appear to agree with us. Over recent years, broking houses have escalated their focus on in-house claim surveys and statistics. Those insurers who ignore this fact do so at their own peril. Independent market surveys like Gracechurch have also highlighted the importance to brokers of insurers processing claims quickly; being highly responsive to their needs; demonstrating a strong commitment to paying claims; and, investing in efficient claims functions. Focusing on these factors does pay off as brokers are recognising insurers who are developing their claims service via channels such as the Gracechurch survey.
We believe significant progress has been made in the market’s approach to handling claims but we must guard against complacency. Standing still is not an option. With the challenges of competing overseas markets there is always a better way and we must constantly strive to evolve. So how do we stay ahead? Actively listening to clients is a good start. We think there are valuable lessons to be learned from other market sectors where more customer centric business models have delivered an improved experience for clients and brand loyalty for companies. We need to gather data regarding client preferences and aspirations when it comes to our service offering in the London Market space and act on it.
What more can we do?
How about an opportunity for clients to meet with the claims team or individual that will ultimately handle any claims that might arise? We are a people business – so let’s build more relationships. It may also be the case that early involvement with the claims team on risk management issues, or use of pre-claims counsel could ultimately prevent a claim from occurring. These are just a couple of small steps that could make a big difference to some clients.
Today, clients expect more than an efficient claims handling service. With the advent of the new electronic claims system, improved efficiency is already a given. We need to go beyond what is simply expected. Underwriting in the London Market is marching to the beat of a new drum where exceeding client expectations has become the new norm.
Written by Andrew Sellers