As CII president Jonathan Clark's year at the helm continues apace, he reflects on the crucial role of claims professionals
Time flies as my year as CII president takes me to my first local institute dinner and a wonderful evening out at Royal Tunbridge Wells. All this on the same day as a trip to the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters lunch, which remains a great gathering of claims people.
Meanwhile, the CII's move to 21 Lombard Street has been completed and we have held our first board meetings there, welcoming many members to the new offices to enjoy the excellent facilities. The keys to Aldermanbury have now been handed over to the City Corporation and all who have been involved in this project to take the CII to its new home deserve our congratulations for a job well done.
Public trust sits at the heart of our CII agenda so as I review the public trust index survey we recently published, I can see that while we have work to do, we found that three particular themes were identified around claims. These were key themes important to both consumers and SMEs. And it is claims that are my focus here:
- Control -- I have a meaningful say in claim settlement
- Speed -- Getting me back on my feet quickly
- Respect -- Trust me and treat me in a human way.
"We should be proud of the service claims professionals provide"
Speed of claims is an important opportunity, as claims professionals have recognised in recent years. But this is not just about doing things faster -- customers want their insurer to take the appropriate amount of time to provide advice and support specific to the situation, rather than focus solely on the speed with which a claim is processed.
I am pleased to see this because since I came into the profession, I have always worked in claims -- first as a loss adjuster, then as a claim director for the FSCS and now for a reinsurer. It has always been my view that it is claims that are a key touchpoint for our customers, it is why they buy -- even if they hope not to have to use a claims service!
DELIVERING OUR PROMISE
Claims defines insurance as much as the products we design and sell. It is about delivering the promise and putting the customer at the heart of what we do.
I am glad to see respect as one of the key themes from the research. In my view, respect is about meeting customers' legitimate expectations and their trust in us.
I would put it this way -- our role in claims should be to make the customer feel that even though the event that started the claims process (the accident) was bad, the process, the experience and the outcome were good -- that they were well treated and cared about.
Empathy and curiosity are key skills, as much as the technical knowledge that underpins our professionalism. But we should never forget to treat our customers as we might like to be treated ourselves.
We should be proud of the service claims professionals provide. To quote the great US President, Theodore Roosevelt, claims professionals are "the man in the arena" -- the men and women on the pitch, and in the field, for insurance.
Jonathan Clark, president, CII