Rate insurers' standards of service and help to determine winners at the Insurance Times' awards

In the current tough market, as insurers and brokers fight hard to win and retain business, delivering great service is vital and those companies that have a superior service will outperform their peers. Customers also want great service and are taking a good look at their expenditure on insurance products.

Brokers are keenly aware of the essential position of good service. They understand that some of the key selling points to clients are their levels of service.

Meanwhile, insurers have been taking steps to improve their service to brokers as well as their direct customers, with varying degrees of success.

For brokers, the quality of the service provided by their insurer is a critical element to the success of their own businesses. Brokers need their insurers to provide a high-quality underwriting and claims service. Without this the service provided by the broker to their clients is impeded and as a result they look bad.

Customers want their broker to deliver a top-quality service and, if they don’t receive it, they will take their custom elsewhere. Therefore brokers need their insurance partners to take service delivery seriously.

During my time at Insurance Times, I have seen how insurers have responded to the challenge of improving their service. For some it has been a slow and difficult process; while for others there is still some way to go.

Brokers have played a key part in this change. Through outlets such as Insurance Times’ research, they have expressed their often strong opinions on the insurers that provide good service and those that perform less well. Insurers have been listening to these views and have responded to the criticism.

Now in its fourth year, Insurance Times’ Broker Service Survey is in a unique position to see how the standard of service provided by insurers has changed over that time, and how individual company’s service has improved relative to their peers.

Often Chubb, Hiscox and QBE have jostled for the top position of insurer with the best service in the Insurance Times’ survey. And this year, these and other companies will be looking to maintain or improve on their placings. Whether they do so, of course, will depend on what their broker partners, say about them.

Will the claims service be up to scratch? Is the policy documentation both accurate and timely? These are just some of the areas on which brokers will be judging insurers. Brokers will also be rating the service provided by personal lines insurers.

For the first time, the research will be used to determine the winners of the insurer awards at the Insurance Times Awards. Commercial Insurer of the Year, Personal Lines Insurer of the Year and General Insurer of the Year will be determined by brokers’ responses in the survey. Insurance Times is also working with Global Reviews, a leading customer-experience benchmarking company, to rate the service provided to consumers by personal lines brands. This will determine the winner of a new Personal Lines Brand of the Year award.

But the Broker Service Survey is only one area of Insurance Times’ research. In June we published a survey of commercial property underwriters, examining trends in pricing, cover and demand. Meanwhile a panel of some of the most influential figures in the insurance sector, called the Power Network, will be taking part in a quarterly survey on the challenges facing the insurance market for Insurance Times.

Ultimately, Insurance Times’ research is about providing our readers with greater insight into market trends and issues.

To take part in the Broker Service Survey, email: michael.faulkner@instimes.co.uk or see Broker Service Survey