Construction claims can be highly intricate and, on occasion, contentious. In such situations, being able to build trust between key stakeholders within the claims process is vital if you are to achieve successful outcomes, says Jonathan Sargent,
Insurance has suffered an ‘image problem’ which has shadowed its business enablement benefits. Insurance claims are often perceived as ‘a zero-sum game’: every dollar that the insurer pays is seen as defeat for them; and every dollar they save, is a victory. An extension to this preconceived (but erroneous) notion is that insurance is nothing more than a profit centre for the insured project. That is, that profits should be maximised year-on-year and where their objectives are to ensure they recover as much as possible or, as a minimum, more than they have paid in their annual premium.
For many people, the only experience they may have had with an insurance company is in the context of a personal lines claim – a marketplace in which insurance is a commoditised product and where the value of long-term partnerships between insured and insurers is, unfortunately, non-existent.
We host claims workshops which have been effective in building and sustaining a trusted relationship that supports the efficient settlement of claims
If we start from this negative view, it’s easy to see why claims can become a battle – particularly when the circumstances are factually and evidentially complicated, and the legal arguments uncertain. But this is a negative view that must be challenged. Because, as we demonstrate, insurers proactively aim to pay and settle claims as efficiently as possible.
So, what are we, as insurers, doing to challenge this misconception and to enhance our claims management services?
At Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, we host claims workshops which have been effective in building and sustaining a trusted relationship that supports the efficient settlement of claims. Insurers, brokers and risk managers – along with key stakeholders in their respective teams – come together to work through claim scenarios and model how a construction policy may respond. Workshops can help foster a strong tripartite relationship while also giving stakeholders added reassurance that they will have sufficient cover. They provide an open and transparent environment to better learn and understand the limitations or restrictions of coverage and the factors impacting a hypothetical claim. This provides risk managers with an extra layer of certainty.
In the event of a claim, claims workshops can help to develop clear communication protocols, which outlines how often the interested parties will need to speak or meet. It helps detail who must to be engaged in the claim process, at what level, and how often. Identifying key claim milestones (for example, the company’s accounting year-end dates) can help insurer and policyholder to focus on what’s important and, crucially, align their interest towards mutually agreed targets.
We reinforce the value of open and honest communication – between claims manager, risk manager and broker – which helps us seek out opportunities to make interim payments wherever possible
A partnership approach is at the heart of our claims management service. We reinforce the value of open and honest communication – between claims manager, risk manager and broker – which helps us seek out opportunities to make interim payments wherever possible. This can be seen in scenarios where aspects of a claim are more straightforward – here we aim to settle payment in advance.
Finally, we invest time and resources to conduct a thorough post-settlement debrief with all stakeholders involved in the claims process. We proactively apply our learnings from every claims experience to help shape our continual improvement and build a trusted partnership approach to effective claims settlement.
Jonathan Sargent, head of wholesale property & casualty claims, EMEA, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions