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Claims 2012 - What are the Big Issues Facing Claims Professionals

By Graham Newman, European Product Marketing Manager, FINEOS

FINEOS recently hosted an executive briefing for the London Market at the ACORD offices in The London Underwriting Centre.  Following criticism of the London Market Claims Transformation Project by Bronek Masojada we thought it was a good opportunity to explore some of the issues with senior claims professionals from the London Market.  The session was ably chaired by Stuart Willoughby, Global Head of Claims at SCOR and saw contributions from Roger Oldham, Managing Director at Amethyst Consulting and Mike Gillett, Head of Claims at Liberty Syndicates.  I gave a talk on the directions that new and rapid advances in technology are taking us and what their implications might be for London Market claims.

Roger spoke eloquently on his topical theme in this Olympic year of achieving a gold standard for claims in the London Market.  After briefly reviewing recent developments in claims processing in the market with emphasis on the Claims Transformation Project and picking out the need for properly embracing technology – a sentiment with which I obviously agreed – he touched on the importance of putting the client at the centre of the market’s efforts and nailed the centrality of claims service at the heart of that need.  As he said, “Claims is the ‘shop window’ of the insurance world – we will all be judged by our clients by the claims service we provide”.   Roger also noted the fact that certain emerging markets around the world are posing a threat to the London Market and that their very newness means that they can find it easier to adopt the new technologies that are being used to improve service and enhance reputation.

Looking to the future Roger spoke of a range of aspects and behaviours that he thought would, and indeed should, develop in the London Market that will inevitably aid its competitiveness.  In particular he touched on improving the processing of payments, with automated payments and direct payments assuming a greater profile, and he spoke very convincingly on the need for greater levels of collaboration.  I was particularly pleased to hear this as it foreshadowed a major part of my theme, which I shall come on to later.  Roger also mentioned the need to ensure a better understanding of the markets in which our clients reside, their cultures, customs and practices, as well as new emerging insurance classes.

Mike Gillett, Head of Claims at Liberty Syndicates spoke about Liberty viewing the focused use of technology as being the foundations of providing an excellent claims service.  With his new claims system in place Mike spoke of the advantages it brought with aspects such as effective triage and segmentation and effective third party management all leading to improved customer service.  Not only were they fully compliant with Lloyd’s minimum claims standards as at the 1st January this year but they are now experiencing significantly enhanced file turnaround times and can automatically allocate 20% of their claims to a fast-track service.  One aspect of an improved claims system that Mike referenced that is not often mentioned was that of greatly improved management information which allows proactive management of departmental resources and provides an improved and embedded audit capability.

All excellent stuff and all making relevant and important points about the current issues in the market.  For my part I took as my theme Meeting the challenges – where is technology going and can it make a difference in 2012 and beyond?  Not too much of a surprise you may think, a technology company promoting the use of technology to solve our problems.  Well, you’d be right, and why not?  With the changes coming along in the way technology is being used it’s vital that insurers understand the implications so that they are best able to weigh up the consequences and take appropriate action.

It’s a fascinating and even disturbing time and the implications for the way in which insurers process data and interact with their customers is, I firmly believe, on the cusp of great change.  Let’s not get carried away and talk of revolution here but any insurer resting on its laurels and taking a laid-back, wait-and-see-what-everyone-else-is-doing-before-I-even-think-about-it approach is taking a considerable risk that they will be left behind.

I shall describe my take on this in the next blog.