Please Give us a Chance
The last one is about to celebrate its first anniversary and while liability has been finally accepted, repairs have not been authorised, no requests for progress payments for the business interruption losses have been submitted, let alone paid.
In all seven cases, the client is naturally really upset and has lost faith in the system. Some are only being handed over to me now as the policy is due for renewal and the client has got upset with the broker.
This could have been avoided in at least six out of the seven cases if I, or an expert claims preparer, had been appointed on Day One.
In a recent survey completed by Brand Matters for LMI, four out of five brokers have never used a claims preparer, instead opting to try and do it themselves.
Claims service is the backbone of insurance. We all know that insurance is a promise and it can only really be tested as claims time. Claims have to be managed well and fairly for the customer experience to go well. It does not necessarily mean paying everything. If something is not claimable, the client needs to be told quickly and an explanation provided as to why and not in a tone which sounds like the person giving the news is happy that they “got” the client.
A good claims preparer takes the pressure off the broker and, importantly, manages the clients expectations and provides meaningful assistance to prepare the claim in accordance with the policy entitlements.
For some time, I have likened the role of the broker and claims preparer to the medical profession. The broker is the General Practitioner (“GP”) who looks after the client/patient’s day to day needs and with advice on risk management, keeps the client healthy.
When a sickness or accident occurs, the GP refers the client to a specialist to recover as quickly as possible. What I am seeing in these last seven cases is the patient getting more sick, to the point where they are nearly terminal before the specialist is brought in.
It is so much easier to get the treatment (claim) set up well from the start, rather than allowing it to grow steadily worse and then expect a magic bullet to fix it. In one recent case in South Australia, the client sacked their insurance broker because he was introduced to a claims preparer from a competitor, rather than his broker. The LMI Claims Preparer (Erik Kroon) took the matter on, pulled together all the information that was needed and presented one report, which the insurer accepted as being the Insured’s entitlement. Trouble was, the Insured thought, with some justification, that this should have happened when he reported the loss and not 18 months afterwards.
The old saying of better late than never has some truth in it, but like the health industry, early intervention with a claims preparer reduces the pain and suffering and gets the patient back on their feet quicker.