The FCA’s recent thematic review into insurance claims focuses on delays, poor customer service and unfair declining of valid claims. Robert Furness gives details of the review in comparison to his own experience within the insurance claims industry.
The UK insurance industry is currently awaiting the release of the FCA’s thematic review into personal lines claims.
Having previously worked in travel insurance sales, claims and complaints, I can’t help but compare my own experience against the areas for review stated by Martin Wheatley, as set out below:
- Poor customer service;
- Unfair declining of valid claims.
My previous employer did strive to ensure that claims were reviewed promptly and that a high level of customer service was achieved, however, there were delays during summer months when claim volumes naturally peaked. I have heard nightmare stories relating to other insurers, with delays of 4-6 weeks between communications, with huge errors in decisions when finally issued.
Barriers to claiming did exist in some instances, for example, the requesting of full medical records for small claims when the claim could have been sensibly assessed with the information provided.
I have also experienced the unfair declining of claims, with terms such as “undue care and attention” being applied far too widely in order to reduce payouts.
How does the current landscape lie?
The claims process will always pose difficulties and challenges for consumers and insurers, so the work carried out by claims departments must be of the highest standard to ensure that customers are reassured and treated in line with TCF (treating customers fairly).
With average salaries for claims handlers ranging from £15-£17K, in a role that requires strong analytical, numerical, written and customer service skills, it is unsurprising that the UK’s claims teams are falling below the standard the FCA would hope to see.
What does the future hold?
The thematic review might well announce the need for a complete overhaul in the way personal lines claims are dealt with by insurers. Increased allocation of resources to claims teams would go a long way to resolving these problems.
The use of experienced contractors to combat seasonal peaks in claims volumes would also help reduce delays and raise standards. Grovelands Insurance and Banking team has provided contractors for many of our clients with positive results, and anticipate a rise in requests for such contractors following the release of the thematic review towards the end of this year.