Brokers and claims: The times they are a changin’

Claims… isn’t that the insurer’s job? Actually, more and more brokers are disagreeing with this sentiment and instead are taking a far more proactive role in the claims process.

New research conducted by Insurance Post and specialist claims outsourcer the Davies Group, has produced some revealing insights into this developing trend.

So, why is it happening and what are the pros and cons of brokers being involved in having more control over claims? Certainly many customers can find it enormously helpful if they are supported by their broker, who, as an influential advocate, can advise on the wording, intervene with the insurer and if necessary, challenge any decision.

Larger and mid size brokers are now more likely to have a retained claims provider available to process and add value on claims and this can make a major difference to the service offering.

The downside of spending more time on claims is the cost of having an in-house resource and it means people not being focused directly on generating revenue. However, there is a counter argument that if the claims service is of high quality, retention will be easier and more business will come in through recommendation.

With straightforward claims of relatively low value it may be that an insurer will deal with things to a satisfactory level – ie arrange any repairs and settle promptly. But, there are no guarantees. Many brokers will say there are cases where customers have contacted them in frustration trying to get through to contact centres and that delays and administrative errors are commonplace. Customers can also get caught up in trying to understand the intricacies of a policy wording when they have a lack of knowledge and this prevents them from correctly arguing their case. Yet a broker is unlikely to be fobbed off.

That is not to say that insurers are trying to avoid paying claims, but standards are far from uniform.

Prompt communication from the broker can assert the validity of a claim; they will know the right people to speak to and ultimately, they have leverage on how a claim progresses.

Many brokers also find it useful to discover first hand what an insurer’s claims service is like – how else can they genuinely recommend a particular carrier for reasons other than price?

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