Index will assess insurers’ willingness to pay claims

The Association of Insurers and Risk Managers (Airmic) is in the early stages of drafting an index of insurers’ willingness to pay claims, in what will be an unprecedented move to improve transparency in that area.

The trade body said that several leading insurers have been approached to contribute to the index with the response said to be encouraging. This will be Airmic’s next major initiative after contract certainty.

A spokesman said the organisation was currently in the “scoping out” stage, deciding what questions to ask and how to gather data.

A forum to discuss the issue of willingness to pay claims will be held during the annual Airmic conference next week.

Airmic executive director David Gamble acknowledged that there were still issues to be considered in what he recognised is a “complex matter”.

Gamble said: “It is a complex issue between first and third party claims and types of insurance.

“The promise to pay is what people are buying when they buy insurance. Clients are not impressed when the policy is changed because of financial reasons.”

Gamble explained that Airmic is looking at ways to take information available in the public domain and put it in tabular form.

Martin Saunders, motor and casualty claims manager at Allianz, said an index would serve to improve competitiveness among insurers.

Saunders said: “We would want it to be a benchmark set of standards that will help us understand which insurers comply with the standards and where some are failing.

“You don’t want to be at the foot of that table.”

On the type of data he would like to see represented in the index, Saunders pointed to the willingness to pay by class of business, speed and ability to pay and time to authorise repairs.

He also highlighted the time taken to pay invoices and general housekeeping, like the speediness of call back services.