Hear, hear to Mike Cullen's letter (26 August, Insurance Times).

The reality of Boscastle was that most insurers and support companies such as loss adjusters were quickly on the case.

For my company Fortis, within 12/18 hours of the flood we had already telephoned or visited (with the excellent help of GAB Robins) all our property policyholders in Boscastle and surrounding areas. Remedial actions commenced within hours of this contact. We had also called our intermediaries around Boscastle to see if they knew of customers who needed our help.

Within 24/36 hours of the flood we had already settled two vehicle total loss claims and within a week a further 11 were settled for cash or replacement.

I am sure that most insurers adopted similar levels of proactive management and sensitive response. I saw a news report from Boscastle where a policyholder did commend the insurer response, but this was not picked up by the interviewer. We have a poor media image, which is unfortunately nurtured by the needs of the news agencies to create stories that "sell". Insurers have a job to do convincing this group that if they want stories that sell they shouldn't look in our back yard.

However, while our industry persists with a less than admirable standard of customer service across many aspects of the insurance transaction, then I fear we are unlikely to shift the image in the short term.

I do however detect a real desire in the industry to tackle this head on and I am sure in the fullness of time Boscastle will be one of many positive demonstrations of this desire.

Rob Smale,
Claims director
Fortis Insurance