I have worked in insurance for 15 years and some recent claims service I have encountered has shocked me quite a bit.

For the majority of property claims and with almost all motor claims, the details can be taken in 10 minutes - quicker if you have an 'on the ball' claims handler.

Even for a large commercial loss, as I am sure you know, the ball can start rolling within at least a few minutes.

After my own car was stolen I called the Privilege claims hotline. I provided my policy number and the date of claim. Although I told the claims handler at the outset that my car was stolen, she went on to take details.

Then she asked me what was stolen, to which I replied: "Er, my car". She then said she didn't do thefts of cars, only thefts from cars.

I was told that I would receive a call back within 48 hours. It was five days later when the call came. The claims person said: "Sorry sir, I can't take the details, but I can arrange for someone to call you on Monday and take the details. It will just take half an hour."

It could be interesting to see what the people at the front end of the most vital part of insurance - claim handlers - think of dealing with other companies for their own claims.

Charles Blair
Towry Law