Indices on liability, business interruption and D&O claims payment could follow

Airmic’s proposed index of insurers’ willingness to pay claims will initially focus on property insurance. The trade body is aiming to establish the key elements of the index by the end of the year.

David Gamble, the recently retired executive director of Airmic, indicated that indices on liability, business interruption and directors’ and officers’ insurance would follow depending on the success of the property claims index.

Airmic will be approaching its members and partners, including Biba and the ABI, to compile the index. Insurers will not be involved.

Colin Campbell, incoming Airmic chairman, said: “The interest is coming from brokers and a number of insurers. Part of the research is to find out what brokers’ plans are in the claims arena and where they can add value.”

There are also plans to consult chief executives of insurance companies to state their policy with respect to claims.

The index will measure claims procedures, resources invested in claims,

accuracy, impartiality and speed.

Airmic said it plans to hold consultations with the FSA, even though the index “is not on the FSA’s radar”.

Gamble said that the intention was not to seek regulation but to “demonstrate that the market can come out with its own solution without being told to do so”.

A survey by Airmic found 69% of its members supported the idea of a willingness to pay index.

Insurers defend claims transparency

Insurers have insisted they had increased their level of contact with risk managers in relation to claims.

This came as insurers faced criticism at the Airmic conference over the lack of transparency in their approach to dealing with claims.

One risk manager said he had not had contact with his insurers to discuss claims handling, in his 10 years of experience.

But a panel of insurers insisted that claims was viewed as a differentiated service.

Although it was acknowledged that there is still work to be done, there was agreement that regular discussions and presentations to risk managers was high on the agenda.

Steve Agutter, senior vice president of claims at AIG Europe said: “Meetings should take place as early as the acquisition stage, to recognise the needs of the client and to recognise the complexity of an account.”

Agutter admitted that in the past the relationship between the claims team and the client had been absent.

Martin Henson, head of claims at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, said: “Face-to-face contact is essential to get the level of understanding required when serving larger corporate clients.”

Henson added that clients who responded to a survey by Allianz rated direct contact with the insurer as “important” or “highly important”.