November 12, 2010

Let them eat cake. Stop voting for Wagner. Drive at 70 on the motorway. Pronouncements from on high as to what ordinary citizens should do are not always welcomed or fully complied with.

Now Insurance Time’s headline writer has Peter Smit of brokers Ashbourne Insurance services wading in with his own popularly-directed imprecation.

The public must realise the levels of fraud we deal with,” it says, in bold type, clearly.

Reading on a bit, however, his opinion piece starts to sound a lot less like Prince Charles and indeed makes a good deal of sense.

After questioning whether insurers are really increasing premiums at the levels they say they are – “someone will always find an angle, take a chance and undercut the ‘market’ rate” – he questions traditional brokers’ assertion that superior service justifies being 10% more expensive.

The direct writers’ claims processes have become “very slick,” Smit says, and are now “in many instances better than the service our clients receive via a traditional route.”

He also maintains that consumers don’t appreciate the scale of the problems insurers are facing both with outright fraud and with venal claims inflation, and so don’t understand the need for increasing premiums. Insurers should do more to publicise these problems he says. Which is probably what inspired that headline.

But if the public are paying more, he argues, they expect to get a decent standard of service as and when they come to make a claim. Which isn’t what they’re getting in many cases.

“If our experiences of the last six months are anything to go by,” Smit says, “then I have to say that claims services are still falling well short of expectations.” He reports a rising tide of complaints about “claims process breaking down, broken promises, failure to deliver a service or faulty workmanship and repairs.”

Insurers’ communication on claims is poor to non-existent, undermining brokers’ precious relationships with their clients, and “the whole system seems only to serve as a confusion,” Smit laments, “with multiple contacts from repairers, insurers and third-party providers. We can all do better!”

Is there a solution to all this chaotic counterproductivity? You would hardly expect Bankstone News to raise an issue without providing a clear, succinct and pertinent answer, would you! For anyone with whom Smit’s words strike a chord see here for a watertight roadmap around some concrete steps to a better way of doing claims.


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