20% of claims professionals believe industry offers poor claims service, CII research find

Research by the CII has castigated the cost-cutting, call-centre culture of insurance claims.

The institute has called for better training for claims handlers, more personal services for customers and more specialist claims handlers for different types of claim.

The insurance industry pays out £57m a day in claims.

Delivering the research findings last week, Groupama claims director Graham Gibson said: “People, not processes, will be the biggest levellers to delivering improved claims management. Systems and processes are not the be-all and end-all. Some people think these are some form of Nirvana.”

The CII research found that 20% of claims professionals believed the industry offered poor service. They said customers were more interested in service than costs.

Brokers too thought insurance claims were fragmented. Concerns highlighted by the research included:

•A decline in the quality of staff

•A dumbing down of claims jobs

•The depersonalisation of service

Gibson told Insurance Times: “There is a disconnect between what insurers think they are delivering and what customers think they are receiving.”

He laid the blame at the door of call centres.

“There is a problem with the call centre approach due to having your least experienced staff there. When a customer first makes that call, they are in a distressed state and they are not happy to be dealt with by a call centre.

“Our customers are not as happy as we think they are. There is a real question mark over what savings are really made using a call centre if you have to deal with customers several times until you get it right.”

Groupama has recently tried to deal with customers completely on their first call. “Deal with a customer once and deal with them effectively. If you deal with them badly then they phone back until you get it right. It is a better experience for the customer if you take a bit longer to get it right first time but it is better for us too.”

Research by Compass Consulting found that rising personnel costs and a poor perception of customer service were reducing the attractiveness of offshore call centres.