Flaxmans’ mediation experience could prevent more cases from going to court

Biba has officially appointed insurance advocacy firm Flaxmans to help its members to deal with disputed claims.

Head of technical services Steve Foulsham said the trade body is still seeing a large number of claims being rejected that its members often have difficulty resolving.

Back in January 2013 new research from Biba showed its members believed insurers were becoming stricter on paying claims as a result of the economic climate and fraudulent claims.

Nearly two-thirds of brokers felt they had to fight harder to get claims paid for their customers and nearly three-quarters of brokers have overturned a claim rejection by an insurer in the past year.

Foulsham told Insurance Times: “We are seeing lots more difficult claims, whether it’s repudiation or warranties, that have not been complied with. We are seeing more of those at the moment and clearly the members do need some help and need to know where to go to get these resolved.

“But it’s not all one way. We want the industry to look responsibly at the way the claims are handled so we can get to a position where genuinely honest claims can be paid fairly and promptly.

“We all understand that fraud is a problem and that can in effect mean that insurers take a harder line on some cases where they have suspicion. That is accepted and we don’t have an issue with that – but it’s that fine line with the genuine claims that need to be dealt with and paid in a timely manner.”

For the past nine years Flaxmans has worked with Biba on an informal basis to provide advice to brokers on request.

The new formalised arrangement will give members access to an initial one hour consultation free of charge as well as preferential rates for any subsequent work.

Flaxmans commercial director Anthony Dallison said: “More and more disputed and difficult claims are coming to our notice, and what we have seen proves how beneficial it is to get advice from insurance professionals at the earliest opportunity.”

Biba has said it wants the industry to look responsibly at the way claims are handled in order for genuine and honest claims to be paid fairly and promptly.

In May 2013 the trade body set up a joint claims working group with cross-industry members to look at improving the reputation of the industry for paying claims and to help brokers represent their clients through the claims process.