Protection 

Supporting the emotional side of making a claim

Tom Baigrie

Tom Baigrie

From publishing claims statistics, to the launch of the Protection Distributors Group, much has changed in the past decade to improve the claims experience for vulnerable customers.

I have spent a lot of time considering the next stage in the evolution of how we best serve vulnerable customers.

If you think about it, what a protection adviser and an insurer combine to do is send a cheque to a customer at surely one of the worst times of their life. That’s a wonderful thing to do.

Yet for almost all our customers, their primary emotion is one of being doubted and judged.

In truth customers half expect this, given the reputation of insurers generally, and are grateful for any efficiencies, courtesies and offers of help.

But if we enjoy doing the good we do, then it is surely also important that the customer feels well treated throughout – that we go beyond the efficient sending of a cheque to helping our customer through their trauma, or at the very least not making it any worse.

We need to simply change our primary intent from one of checking the facts, to one of caring for a person in their time of need.

'Feel Good Claims' is a paper designed to shift insurers’ and advisers’ thinking to the next stage of caring for our customers.

Knowing little of insurers’ back office processes, I engaged Andrew Gething of MorganAsh, whose job it is to help with those processes.

Our joint paper lays out a rationale and route map for changing the way insurers think about claims management.

Many will feel they are already thinking the way we want them to. But our experience is that there is a long way to go to make good intentions reality.

To put it simply, now that the claims paid rate is exemplary, we need to deliver a claiming customer experience to match.

The globally recognised Temkin Customer Experience Rating finds that half of a customer’s opinion of a brand depends on their emotional response as to how they were treated – how customers feel about the interactions they had with the brand.

So the emotion we engender through the claim is the key and insurers need to review all their claims processes to ensure they are generating the right emotions.

The benefits of doing things better are a valuable prize: a reputation for caring, for fair treatment, for being trustworthy.

That little list is something of a holy grail for an insurance market that historically has been seen as more or less the opposite.

MorganAsh and LifeSearch think that claiming customers need a "customer champion", which could be a nurse case manager or their original adviser, whose job it is to facilitate the claims process on the customer’s behalf, to provide empathy and support, and deliver timely communication.