Insurance is often referred to as a ‘grudge purchase’, a necessary evil and something that only really delivers any value if the policyholder is propelled by an accident or incident towards the ‘moment of truth’ – the time at which they have to call on their policy and make a claim.
At that point, it can come more ‘begrudged’ than grudge, if the claim is not handled in a manner living up to expectations. Policyholders have a set idea in their mind about how their claim should be handled and become highly engaged in pursuit of that vision. They are even prepared to phone up and be held in a queue for 30 or 40 minutes at a time, just to gain some reassurance that someone is looking after their case.
Knowing the importance of a claim for policyholders, insurers have made great efforts to make the process highly efficient. There has been heavy investment in technology and many insurers now provide the means to open a claim online, on a dedicated website. This will usually allow the policy-holding claimant to track the progress of a claim, access recent correspondence between their insurer and the third party and discover whether repairs or treatments have been authorised. All of this is just a click away, a far cry from the situation even just a decade ago.
Another leap forward in the world of commercial insurance has been the establishment of Centres of Excellence, which give the policyholder access to experienced and technically trained claims handlers within specific specialist areas. The aim is to handle claims pro-actively and with empathy, offering mediation and rehabilitation services for those with personal injury claims, for example. Being trained to gather all the vital information in just one phone call not only speeds up the claim, but also pleases the policyholder, who does not wish to have to do the ‘hard work’ to make their claim progress.
Those with larger claims will typically see a claims investigator visit their premises, to liaise with them and ensure that the claims handling goes smoothly. Explanations about claims have been made easier by the great strides that have been made with policy wordings – now often jargon-free and written in Plain English.
Giving the policyholder access to trusted suppliers, who are instructed to work on the claimant’s behalf, has also made the claims pill easier to swallow for clients seeking peace of mind about repairs, whether they need the services of a plumber, hire car company, or emergency glazier.
However, brokers are at a particular advantage when it comes to claims handling, not just because of their technical knowledge, or the fact they have their own internal claims handlers in many cases. Largely, the advantage is that of dialogue, being able to convey empathy and action either face-to-face, or over a phone that is typically answered in just a few rings, rather than after many minutes of on-hold music.
Brokers understand that making a claim is an emotional experience and that policyholders in this position want clarity from a person empowered to act. They appreciate that customers who are satisfied with the handling of their claim are six times less likely to take their business elsewhere. In many cases, it is not the size of the financial settlement that affects the customer’s view of the claim, but rather the way in which it was handled, with poor helplines, or inadequate answers from employees, all leading to higher levels of discontent.
A Deloitte Insight survey by YouGov, conducted in 2014, but still very relevant in 2018, also found that those who are unhappy with the way their claim is handled are most likely to tell their family and friends about it, whilst only 24% of those who are happy will do the same. 9% of those who feel let down by their policy will make their dissatisfaction known on social media.
A major step towards client satisfaction is ensuring that customers have the right cover in place for their individual needs, which is where choosing a broker to help you with your insurance requirements is a wise decision. A broker will be on hand whenever you need answers, contacting you as many times as you agree is right for you, when the claims process starts.
Placing your insurance with a broker also means that you can express your views directly, perhaps only venturing on to social media to express your satisfaction. If an informed and attentive service is what you want to have supporting you through any future claims process, you can be assured that we will provide that, whenever you need to call upon your cover.