The Mansfield Awards for Claims Excellence – How they came about?

The Mansfield Awards for Claims Excellence – How they came about?

Following on from Friday’s post, I thought I would provide a brief history of the Mansfield Awards for Claims Excellence as it is quite a common question asked of me.

The reality is that not all Insurers are the same. Just like the policies they sell, which range from broad coverage to very narrow cover, claims departments react differently. Some provide the very highest level of customer service while others move the Insured from a customer to a cost center the moment a claim occurs.

While far too many people focus on price when it comes to insurance, this in reality is of little consequence when it comes to making a claim. When a loss occurs, what really matters are:

  • The coverage afforded by the policy – does the policy cover my loss?
  • The financial strength rating of the Insurer – will they have the funds to meet my claim promptly, particularly at the time of a natural disaster where many customers are claiming? and
  • The Claims Service provided by the Insurer.

LMI PolicyComparison has been providing comparisons of the features and benefits of policies in a wide range of general insurance products for 15 years to the point where it has become a highly trusted resource which is relied upon to understand the differences between policies.

The issue for the typical Insured or Insurance Broker is how do you find out before you have a claim what the claims service is likely to be? Obviously, it is too late afterwards. With this in mind, LMI ClaimsComparison was developed to rate the claims service.

There were 2 other reasons why we created the service.

  1. We wish to acknowledge and congratulate the claims departments that are doing the right thing for their clients and brand insurance. It is with this in mind that LMI originally awarded a Claims Excellence Award each year to the Claims Department that rates highest in each category.
  2. We hope that by making the ratings freely available it will drive positive change in customer service for the good of the insuring public.

In 2016, the CEO of InsuranceNEWS the Magazine, Terry McMullan and I decided that we ought to take this one step further and develop a night where claims excellence could be celebrated and acknowledged. We did this as claims were being ignored in other insurance awards and there was certainly none celebrating claims in their own right at that time. Having decided to develop awards for claims excellence, we had 3 primary criteria:

  1. It was to honour the claims teams and not be named after either of the founding companies.
  2. The event was to be not for profit.
  3. Awards were to be on merit alone. Not who paid the most nor who prepared the best submission.

What to call the awards?

William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield. Also Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales 8 November 1756 to 4 June 1788

2016 was the 250th anniversary of the seminal case of Carter v Boehm [1766] 97 ER 1162 which created the underlying principle of insurance, that we now know as Utmost Good Faith. This principle is enshrined, virtually unaltered, in Australia’s Insurance Contracts Act [1984].  Who better than to name the awards after than the presiding judge who gave us this principle, Lord Mansfield. Mansfield is regarded by many as the most influential judge of the 18th Century. While he is well known to those in insurance, or ought to be, he is perhaps best known for his judgment in Somersett’s case [1772] where he held that slavery had no basis in common law and had never been established by legislation in England, and therefore was not binding law. 

If we were to honour Lord Mansfield by naming the awards after him, we also made a commitment not to sully his excellent name but do him justice.

Not for Profit

I was confronted with this same issue about 1 year before when I first discussed the holding of a conference in Bengkulu Indonesia, the site of Fort Marlborough, which was the location of the loss that ultimately gave rise to the Carter v Boehm decision. Here Greg Pynt and I hosted a memorable conference to commemorate the case. Greg who had the initial idea for the conference did not want it to be a profit making event. I suggested, and Greg ran with the idea that we chose either a school or orphanage in Bengkulu that is deserving of help. Greg, working with Hazel Kerr of Conference Images and local tour operators Krishna Gamawan from Alesha Wisata, found both in one: Amal Mulia Orphanage in Sumatra.  Having visited the orphanage and school myself during the conference, I was happy to recommend that they be the recipient of any profit generated.

Neither LMI Group nor InsuranceNEWS charge for any of their time for the running of the awards. All this is donated to the charity as is the proceeds of the ticket sales on the night.

As an aside, knowing that corruption is rife in parts of Indonesia, and despite trusting the wonderful people that run the orphanage, the decision was made not to simply pass over money but to provide food and services to the orphanage under the direct supervision of someone from InsuranceNEWS or LMI Group and or someone we knew and trusted. To provide a second line of supervision, Greg Pynt, WA barrister from Perth, coordinated a trip to the orphanage while I was there to carry out an audit. No funds raised through the Mansfield Awards were used to cover administration or any other time planning, travelling or being on the ground nor were the travel or accommodation costs during the visits. These were covered by Mr Pynt, LMI or me personally.

To see exactly what was purchased for the orphanage after the 2017 Mansfield’s please refer to the attached article that appeared in the April – May 2018 edition of InsuranceNEWS the magazine:  MansfieldINArticle-AprMay18.

Methodology for deciding the finalists and winners.

This is a topic in itself which I will cover off in detail tomorrow.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *