Income Protection  

British Friendly changes the way it pays claims

British Friendly changes the way it pays claims

British Friendly will integrate its immediate support payment into its claims process on a permanent basis after a six-month trial.

British Friendly will start making claims payments at the end of the deferred period whether supporting evidence has been received or not, allowing customers to receive immediate financial support while the claim is processed.

The friendly society is also introducing DocuSign to speed up the claims process, which will allow members to sign and submit their claim form electronically.

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Andy Parker, claims and underwriting director at British Friendly, said: "It is our job to provide financial support to our members at the very time they need it the most.

"But delays when our members are making a claim can happen, through circumstances beyond their, and our, control. So, penalising them would be unfair.

"Receiving a payment at the earliest possible stage can make all the difference in what is already likely to be a difficult situation."

Mr Parker said DocuSign would become British Friendly's default process but the society would continue to make sure its members were able to use the service.

During the six-month trial, British Friendly paid out nearly £10,000 in immediate support payments, with members receiving those payments, on average, 28 days earlier than under the normal process.

The average payment was £425 and only two claims were deemed invalid during the trial.

Meanwhile the trial of Docusign saw 50 per cent of claims submitted within 24 hours, and 70 per cent within one week.

Damian O'Connor, an adviser at Roxburgh Financial Management, said: "The payment of claims is one of the areas that consumers are suspicious about. They doubt that insurers will pay out without a fight.

"British Friendly's initiatives to make the claims process quicker and simpler are very welcome and their focus on the most important part of the protection process, paying a claim, is the kind of approach the industry should embrace."

damian.fantato@ft.com