What went wrong at Merlin, and can its rivals benefit from the firm's demise? Mark Colonnese talks to Post Online.
From our perspective as a technology firm dealing with the loss adjusting and insurance claims sectors, there are I believe some important lessons to be learned from the very unfortunate and sad demise of Merlin.
Comment was made about how Merlin had mismanaged its finances and lost strategic focus on its real raison d'être - loss adjusting.
By effectively offering its adjusting services at the lowest of margins, the business model became confused and, more importantly, not resilient to commercial shocks which happen from time to time. Losing the solus deal with L&G seems to have been the final straw.
What we know from our dealings with some of the sector's specialist players, such as Quadra and Williams Pitt, is that claims management technology, while extremely powerful, is no panacea on its own and certainly no direct replacement for experienced and expert loss adjusters.
To offer the highest levels of professional service, loss adjusters need to strike a delicate balance between the interests of the insurer and the insured.
They must ensure that the claim is valid and that the costs to reinstate the loss are fair and proportionate.
Increased customer touch points in their processes mean that experts are fully engaged with both parties more than ever, and decision making is swift, efficient and fair.
In our experience, this blend of modern technology and professional expertise cannot be offered on the cheap.
For any business, forgetting where you came from and who your customers are is a disaster waiting to happen.
Merlin has paid the price, but I remain optimistic that there will continue to be a place for well run, strategically focused loss adjusting operations.
And, while extremely difficult to say, ultimately Merlin's loss will be others' gain.
Mark Colonnese, sales and marketing director, Aquarium Software
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