16 Jun Why Claims Matter to Brokers
Why Claims Matter to Brokers
Many insurance brokerages say they understand the importance of having a prompt and efficient claims service. Then, a major loss occurs and reality kicks in. The broker’s claims team become distracted and are busy coping with a high volume of new, and often complex, claims. Fortunately for CRM Brokers’ (CRM) clients, our claims’ experience ranges from the simple to the complex, which means we know how to remove the stress from a difficult situation. CRM’s dedicated claims consultants understand that keeping track and up to date on each claim is important, under all circumstances.
In many ways, our claims service epitomises why so many clients firstly choose CRM as their broker, and then choose to remain with us. Beyond having a real in-depth understanding of the actual Policy Coverage(s), CRM sets the bar high on the following characteristics, when dealing with an insurer:
Ability and willingness to pay claims
Financial strength is obviously an important factor as this provides the protection that claims can be paid over the long term. Having the capital to pay claims, however, is not the same as being willing to pay legitimate claims, or to pay them promptly. A track record of a consistent, positive claims experience is a strong indicator of an insurance company’s willingness to deliver on its promise to pay claims in line with the terms and conditions of its policies. CRM’s close understanding of the insurer’s claims philosophy, cover and willingness to work with us on all claims, means our clients benefit from the best possible claims service.
Focus on client relationships
CRM’s focus is first and foremost on its clients. Regardless of the insurer in question, there must be a seamless understanding between the insurer’s claims and underwriting teams. This supports a ‘client first’ attitude and a culture that places our clients’ experience and expectations right up front. CRM has fostered close relationships with its key clients and insurers so, as a community, we can all engage effectively with each other and discuss claims situations to ensure the best outcome for all parties, especially the insured or policyholder, even during difficult times.
Cover that meets the clients’ needs
When CRM lodges a claim, as mentioned above, an insurer generally can follow one of two paths; find ways to deny the claim or search for ways to pay it, i.e. their claims philosophy. CRM is committed to delivering a fair and transparent claims service for its clients, and this starts with us working hand-in-hand with the insurer to provide the right coverage upfront. This avoids disappointment later on for our clients, or unnecessary distractions for our claims consultants who, because of their knowledge of an insurer’s policy wording, waste less time and less energy in issuing denials, as a result of so-called ‘grey’ areas.
This is where close collaboration between us – the insurance broker – and the insurer pays big dividends. Both must understand the overlap of underwriting and the claims operations and how this will benefit the client. In all policies, there are technical areas that require specialist knowledge to understand the insurer’s intent, which is not always clearly understood or articulated. This is where the CRM claims team will use their experience, knowledge and relationships to seek clarity and insights from its insurers/underwriters about the policy wording intent. This means all parties are working together to find ways to pay the insured’s claim, which is so much more productive.
In today’s highly competitive market, with low-profit margins, some insurers are taking tougher positions with regard to claims, which makes CRM’s influence and ability to work closely with insurers, even more crucial right now. This collaborative approach, led by us, helps deliver a more consistent claims handling service for clients, regardless of the complexity of the individual claim, line of business or insurer.
Knowing what is important to the client/policyholder
CRM Brokers understands that every policyholder has different needs, and what is important to one may be less important to another. We find that there really is no substitute for taking the time to have precise conversations with the right people, especially those impacted by the claim, i.e. the client/policyholder. CRM uses this approach to understand the nature of the claim, what our client/policyholder values most and why something is particularly important to them when they file a claim.
For example, a business defending a liability lawsuit may be inclined to fight tooth and nail, rather than trying to settle. Knowing what’s key to the client will help the insurer and us, keep our clients better informed of their options and better serve their needs in the future. CRM Brokers is there to assist our client and/or the policyholder with this process, in whatever situation.
Communication is key
CRM Brokers understands that communication is not just a two-way street; it should have multiple lanes. Many unnecessary delays and complications stem from poor communication. When it comes to claims, CRM doesn’t just effectively communicate with its clients and/or the policyholder, but rather, this principle is extended to a range of external, parties, e.g. insurers, loss adjustors, repairers and agents, to name just a few. To miss someone in this chain of communication is commonly interpreted as ‘silence’, or a lack of action.
Without regular communication with the right people at the right time, lines become unclear, and things soon degenerate into problems and issues. For example, imagine how a policyholder might react to a long silence after filing a claim, with the only acknowledgement being an acknowledgement of lodgement. At best, such a policyholder would have an unfavourable view of the broker, no matter how the claim gets resolved. Similarly, poor communication between the insurer and the broker’s claims team can lead to unmet expectations for the client as well as missed opportunities for the broker, insurer and the insured to settle the claim in less time.
It’s no accident that CRM Brokers is a leading broking firm, with a loyal client base. We take our claims service seriously, and our standard practices insist on frequent, clear and pro-active communications with all interested parties. This is our commitment to our clients and policyholders.
Contact us today
For more insights on claims, risk management and insurance options, please visit our website or call CRM Brokers on 1300 880 494.