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Spotlight: Why personal lines brokers should make claims a USP

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As the heart of the insurance experience, Steve Molloy, director of commercial sales at AX, argues claims offer real opportunities for forward-thinking brokers to steal a march on their rivals.

Steve Molloy
Steve Molloy, director of commercial sales, AX

I was told recently by someone prominent in the insurance industry that brokers don’t really care about claims. As someone who regularly speaks to both retail and commercial brokers, I don’t think this is the case. Indeed, assisting clients when claims arise and trying to resolve the matter is just one of the “value added” services that brokers can offer. Many brokers have niche knowledge about certain products and sectors. Not only do they source coverage for clients; they are also trusted advisors to their businesses. It is when a client is in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim that the real value of a good broker shines through. However, I believe the customer claims experience should be given more focus.

More and more brokers are concerned with the increasing marketing budgets required to remain competitive in an aggressive and relatively small marketplace. But, as any business owner will tell you, customer retention is a critical part of any successful business. These brokers should be asking themselves how to keep the clients they have, and whether they are really focusing on service when choosing a claims or FNOL supplier.

We all know that when people buy insurance, they hope never to use it. They will only ever claim on a policy in the event of a traumatic incident such as a flood, or car crash. A claim made on a policy becomes the single biggest “moment of truth” when it comes to delivering on the initial service promise – and the way in which their broker or insurer responds is critical.

Therefore, it is vitally important that insurers and brokers track and measure the success of their service. An efficient, friendly, and timely service invariably reflects well on the broker. They should ensure that customer satisfaction is tracked at multiple stages and should not simply rely on the supplier providing the feedback. The result of a satisfactory claims experience is happy customers, who can go on to become brand ambassadors for brokers.

Careful consideration

To achieve this outcome, it is important that brokers give careful consideration when looking for a claims supplier. Some brokers are focusing on the companies that generate the most claims revenue or provide the best savings, while others are asking more questions about how partners can help them in product development and technology solutions to speed up and automate the claims journey. Those placing the most emphasis on claims income are taking a short-term approach.

A recent report from Deloitte on the future of claims management noted that, as customers increasingly embrace digital technology, insurers are being compelled to introduce technologies such as analytics and artificial intelligence into their operations. The report found that automation can transform low-value processes by improving efficiency and dramatically reducing costs. It allows customers to browse options and claims from anywhere at any time. Automation can also minimise fraud, enhance client satisfaction and resolve claims more quickly. The overall result is a more seamless claims process, which will bring brokers and insurers closer to the customer and to success at the “moment of truth”. And with the growing use of data within the claims environment, especially around quantity and quality of driver behaviour, brokers are now asking for more from their suppliers.

In early 2021, the Association of British Insurers suggested that insurers help drivers, whose cars have been written off following a crash, to transition to electric vehicles. As part of its roadmap to decarbonise the industry by 2050, the ABI wants to encourage drivers to make more sustainable choices by moving to an EV after an accident. Brokers have a big part to play in this process. They have an opportunity to start offering after-accident solutions to guide customers in their transition to EV; becoming part of the vehicle purchase journey as well as securing the ongoing insurance solution. And there are companies now looking to support this initiative by offering short-term and long-term EV rental leasing or purchasing options to these drivers.

In understanding the behaviours of drivers before, during, and after an incident together with those of customers transitioning to EVs, brokers are now able to create products for more demographics. The data allows them to think outside the box about how to sell insurance and to whom, in this changing vehicle landscape. And having access to driver behaviour data collected from their EV customers can help insurers and brokers develop mobility solutions to give them an edge in the future marketplace.

Claims are at the heart of the insurance experience. And with technology and the economy changing at breakneck speed, there are real opportunities for forward-thinking brokers to adapt their claims offering and steal a march on their rivals in this heavily crowded market. 

 

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