Insurance companies pressed to improve claims experience

Insurance companies pressed to improve claims experience

Insurance providers are being called on to work harder to improve the claims experience for clients, not just in terms of the process but also in providing the most accurate claims data.

Phil Hull, proposition and portals manager at Holloway Friendly, said the industry must go further to make the claims process fairer, quicker, easier and more transparent for existing clients.

He said Holloway Friendly was a "big advocate of publishing claims statistics" annually, as the claim itself is "the thing our customers buy". 

However, he said it was not so much the claims statistic itself that was what clients bought, but the experience at the point of claim.

Mr Hull explained: "People pay so that they and their family are treated in the way they expect to be treated at any potential point of claim. They pay for the claims experience.

"Rather than talking about changing consumer views, why don't we focus on giving our current consumers a better claims experience instead?"

Andrew Ward, head of protection of advice for Roxburgh, said: "The anguish claimants can go through when trying to make a claim is clear, so anything providers can do to alleviate the stress of the process is important.

"When a policy is underwritten, it is rare that providers will step away from the guidelines and take a human approach to helping someone get cover. A claim can be slightly more rigid in terms of meeting certain criteria and getting the claimant to supply certain information.  

"I've not seen any provider step outside the box and show the client they are trying to make it easier to claim, even if that is the ethos of the provider."

He said he would like to see a provider have certain conditions whereby a claim can be pre-approved to a certain level, or a certain amount can already be pre-approved, so a client can have some money paid out to help with immediate bills while the checks are carried out.

Mr Ward said there were also ways to improve the claims process in getting the necessary information, such as a GP report, so that a claim could be processed more quickly. 

British Medical Association guidelines say these should be completed within 21 days but there is no real law - some GPs can do it in a few days and others can take much longer. 

Mr Ward added: "When helping someone get cover, we spend so much time trying to chase the GP, but do providers spend a similar amount of time chasing the GP at the point of claim, or do they just wait for the report to come in?"

But it is not just the experience and the process but also the way in which claims statistics are published and displayed that needs to be made more transparent, according to Holloway Friendly's Mr Hull.