Post Claims Club chair's monthly missive: Talk Sport PI ads and treehouses

Sunlight through trees in a forest

Last week I enjoyed a pleasant staycation in East Sussex, sleeping in an eco-treehouse on a farm near Mayfield, visiting sights and restaurants recommended by local industry types.

My wife was especially taken with The Buttercup Café in Lewes, so thanks for that tip Jamie M.

While the week was relaxing in the main, one thing that got my goat while driving my hire car - a bit hypocritical on my part given the green accommodation - was an advert for a personal injury law firm playing non-stop on Talk Sport.

The invasive ad, calling for workplace claimants to step forward and get some dosh, had a line which assured potential customers not to worry about their employers being out of pocket.

Fear not claimants because, as the announcer claimed, corporations have insurance for such events which will cover the costs.

There is no disputing the immediate logic behind this, but it fails to address the longer term picture.

If many workers made claims and, call me old-fashioned, but I have always believed if you have not claimed by now, then your life has probably not been affected by that slip or trip, insurers will have no option but to put up premiums to cover the outgoings.

Ultimately if insurance costs do rise the claimant's employer, which the ad cheerily tells us will not be affected, could find themselves with a shock come renewal, especially if their claims record is not the greatest.

Said company may have to trim expenses elsewhere, for instance pay rises and staff bonuses, to cover the cost of something the PI law firm acknowledges is compulsory - employers' liability insurance.

Of course this would make a much bleaker trailer - claim now and see the Xmas party cancelled - but it would be much closer to the grim reality.

Moving on to next week's Claims Club meeting, in addition to the announced sessions on subrogation/repair costs and the Department for Work and Pensions' and the Association of British Insurers' mesothelioma scheme, I am pleased to say that members of the Chartered Insurance Institute's new generation claims group have agreed to present the initial findings of their research into a new protocol for third-party motor damage.

The session with Lee Watts from QBE and Edward Frost from Axa, hinging on wider industry co-operation, should prove an interesting counterpoint to that given by Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers barrister, who will address the subject of litigation in the wake of the recent Coles, Woodhead and Crowther v Hetherton, Guy and Thomas case, which has had insurers, quite publicly, at each other's throats.

I expect a lively and informed discussion, and hope you will be able to join us to take part at the London Stock Exchange on 5 September.

Also launching next week is a new-look Post Claims Club website featuring refreshed branding marking the 10th birthday of the group which, I'm sure you will agree, is a notable achievement.

Some of you may have been there at the start, others may have attended meetings only in the past 12 months, but there is plenty of legs left for the Claims Club forum given the current developments in this space.

The packed agenda for this October's Claims Event is testament to the number of hot topics currently taking up your time.

To illustrate the broad range of issues the Claims Club has covered in its lifetime watch out for an article in next week's Post - online, in print or tablet edition (which if you have not checked out yet, you should do at the Apple App store) - in which members of the advisory board offer their views on the past decade and what may come in the future.

So, if you want to know who, if they were Prime Minister, would implement minimum sentences for those who commit insurance fraud, why Jack Straw is considered the claims hero and claims villain of the past decade, and who wants the phrase "claims is the shop window of insurance" to be cast aside forever, make sure you read the 6 September issue.

As per the first missive I would like to draw you attention to a number of claims-related white papers on Post's sister title Insurance Hound which should be worrth downloading. These include:

1) The smarter way to fight fraud

2) Claims management case study: Leveraging customer communications management

3) Weather to claim: Insurer's position concerning insurance claims involving damage from natural hazards under household and commercial policies

So all that is left to say is I hope you enjoy the Paralympics as much as the Olympics, and that the new football and rugby seasons provide you with at least a few special moments.

If you have any suggestions or comments that you believe could help improve the club, or an idea for an interesting discussion point for a future meeting, do not hesitate to drop me a line.

Jonathan Swift
Post Claims Club chair
0207 316 9321
[email protected]

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