December 1, 2014

Many French baby boomers, or bébés explosants as they are of course known in that country, cherish fond memories of a Wild-West fixated childhood in which the Belgium-born spur-heeled white-stetson-sporting righter of wrongs Lucky Luke featured large. Perhaps not altogether coincidentally, garlic tinged insurance giant AXA has latterly taken to doing what the French call ‘portant le chapeau blanc’ i.e. setting an impeccable moral example to the world at large.

The latest, perhaps most controversial, manifestation of which is throwing open its book of excuses for not paying claims to anyone who cares to take a peek. It has long been known, or at least suspected, that every insurance company has one of these. But now AXA has ‘terrorisé les colombes avec un chaton’ by revealing theirs for all to see. Less scrupulous insurers may be tempted to view this as transparency gone mad (l’insanité de l’invisiblité).

According to leading industry journal Insurance Tights, AXA has ‘launched an initiative to help brokers improve their client’s understanding of what is and isn’t covered by a policy,’ a document that will doubtless be welcomed not only by those brokers with but a single client, but also by those with more th>n one. The initiative has been branded Making Claims Clear (or, as they would say in Paris, Faisant Disparaître les Revendications).

The move has the backing of leading fashion house BIBA, whose chief exec Steve Wipe welcomes the clean up, commenting “These new guides from AXA will play a key role in enhancing clarity with customers.” Sounding suspiciously like a politician, AXA’s Martin Assfield adds that “As an insurer, we have a responsibility to be absolutely clear with our customers about what cover they can and cannot expect” and says the guides will help avoid ‘largely needless friction’.

Largely needless, of course, because at the end of the day we all need a bit of friction, don’t we.

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