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The 2023 Quality Marque achievers all get four fundamental things right, which can be summed up as follows:
#1 they all deliver consistently through great teamwork: inconsistency undermines trust and service suffers disproportionately if it’s not consistent, so they know that working as a team is what makes the difference to making sure everything is covered.
#2 teams use the research and other feedback to identify weak spots and work on them so the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts…they’re not scared either (or too proud) to ask the brokers what they can improve and this dialogue opens up communications channels and helps build trusted relationships.
#3 they all score well on responsiveness: Speed is the strongest driver of service and teams that don’t deliver on this just don’t get near to the SQM because their scores all get dragged down.
#4 they all focus on quality people service and consistent behaviours: SQM teams get larger cohorts of individuals mentioned for good service and this is because they set clear behaviours and expectations for their teams who they deliver according to these…after a while it becomes a habit, ‘the way we do things round here’.
Is claims service quality becoming the key to competitive advantage?
Despite all the talk about it being insurers’ “shop window”, the reality is that claims still takes a back seat to underwriting. Look at any number of insurer websites and how they describe their claims ‘promises’: ‘We only pay fair claims…’We strive to pay all fair claims’…. We pay 99% of all fair claims’. These phrases ring slightly hollow as authentic promises; the underlying message sounds more like ‘we’ll decide whether to pay and you’ll have to like it or lump it’.
However, the insurance industry is shifting its focus to the customer and to delivering what they want and beyond. Broker competition in particular, is driving this with most realising that gaining an edge on service is the only way to win. This, coupled with regulatory pressure and frustrations with insurer service, creates the perfect storm for a shift to much better service and at the epicentre is claims service.
So while claims might be the Cinderella operation it is reputationally sensitive – being tarred with the brush of avoiding paying claims is highly commercially damaging (remember BI anyone?) – and the taint is hard to shake off. More to the point, less business will go to those who don’t deliver good claims service (or can’t prove it).
All the recent evidence points to claims service becoming more of a priority: for example, before 2022 claims hardly used to feature but is now brokers’ #2 challenge after Pricing. Plus, brokers are increasingly commenting in our surveys that they want proof of good claims service to help them in winning and retaining business.
More strategically our analysis shows that insurers don’t grow over the long term unless they offer good claims service – so it’s an essential investment for any growing business. With the increasing investment in insurer brands this focus on claims will only intensify – it’s the core brand promise after all.
Last, technology is offering insurers a way of making the handling of claims more efficient and with this comes the possibility that teams can focus freed up resource on delivering (much) better customer experiences which they can showcase (as per our Quality Marque) to gain competitive edge.
I have no doubt that the insurers who are first out of the gate with ‘guaranteed’ better claims service will win out over those who only sell on price.
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