Providing a good client service is a better way to distinguish insurers than price cutting, says Andrew Sellers, Hiscox Group Claims Service Delivery Manager
Despite the improving economic climate, it still appears to be the case that, for most insurance buyers, price 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 their competitors? We believe passionately that how a client’s 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 increasingly focused on in-house claim surveys and statistics, and those insurers who ignore this do so at their peril. Independent market surveys like Gracechurch have also highlighted the importance brokers now place on insurers processing their 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 working hard to develop their claims service.
We believe the London Market has made significant progress in how it handles claims, but we mustn’t become complacent. Standing still is not an option when facing the competitive challenge from overseas markets. So how do we stay ahead? 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 generated increased brand loyalty for companies. We need to gather data regarding client preferences and aspirations when it comes to the service we offer in the London Market, and act on it.
What more can we do?
Here is a small idea that could make a big difference to some clients. How about giving clients an opportunity to meet their insurers’ claims team or the individual that will ultimately handle their claims? We are a people business – so let’s build more relationships. It may also be that by involving an insurer’s claims team early to advise a client on its risk management, or using a pre-claims counsel, could ultimately prevent a client from having to make a claim.
Today, clients expect more than an efficient claims handling service, because, with 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 they look to exceed clients’ expectations. Claims should follow that same rhythm.