Lack of talk will decide flood losers

Communication between suppliers, loss adjusters and insurers will have to be stepped up the next tim...

Communication between suppliers, loss adjusters and insurers will have to be stepped up the next time a major flood incident happens, according to a roundtable discussion on the subject at the conference.

"The key learning point is that we all need to talk to each other," said Mike Hall, the technical property claims controller at LV.

Issues arose, the delegates agreed, because customers were not getting the same service as their neighbours. "It's hard to manage expectations when they know 'Joe Blow' down the street is getting good service," commented Graham Cranford-Smith, a director at loss adjuster Merlin.

Part of this came from the fact that various entities were not always willing to share workloads or information even if that would have made the situation better, said another adjuster. "People just got a bit precious, thinking, 'this is my property,' but really it should have been about the customer," said Gary Hemsley, a business development manager at Merlin.

He concluded that, in the future, working as a team will likely create much better results, adding: "Those that aren't talking will be the ones to lose out the next time."

BLM: MESOTHELIOMA CLAIMS COSTS UNDERESTIMATED

The cost of mesothelioma-related insurance claims have been seriously underestimated, according to Nick Pargeter, partner at law firm BLM. Speaking on a panel alongside employers' liability specialists Jennette Newman and Michael Parr - also partners at BLM - Mr Pargeter said data compiled by the General Insurance Research Organising Committee asbestos working party 2008 found that, although the numbers of claims per individual claimant were falling, it had become easier to identify employers' liability insurers, thus increasing the rate of claims.

Mr Pargeter told delegates: "Mesothelioma represents by far the largest proportion of asbestos-related claims. But figures have been underestimated, which will have a big impact in insurers' claims."

He also said that a 2004 estimate that claims in the next 30 to 40 years would be between £3bn and £6.6bn are likely to be dwarfed by the reality. "What has happened in the last four years is there has been a 50% spike in the number of claims (insurers) are receiving, even though there is only a 10% increase in meso-related deaths."

Mr Pargeter added that mesothelioma sufferers have been much better treated by the insurance industry in recent years in terms of paying claims, and now the number of sufferers making claims has leapt from one third to two thirds of the total.

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