The Tough Guys - Insurance Times details the key players in the claims sector in 2008.

The Claims Top 50 is a celebration of the claims community, the front line of the insurance world. As well as listing some of the biggest and best companies in the field, we have spoken to the claims directors at seven of the UK’s leading insurers. Brimming with energy, enthusiasm and commitment, all seven were passionate about the career they had chosen and keen to communicate that dedication to the rest of the industry and the world at large.

“Everything in claims is real,” mused one of the directors when asked what he most enjoyed about his job. It’s true. The decisions taken in the claims departments affect people’s lives, not to mention the public perception of insurers and their individual balance sheets. It’s lucky, then, that the claims community is such a proactive bunch.

Here in claims, insurance meets politics and the law. Our claims directors, and the companies they work for, are willing to plough hours of time and thousands of pounds of investment into lobbying and legal challenges

to try to ensure that the right compensation is given to the right people at the right time. In the case of pleural plaques, this fight is set to intensify in the coming months. The claims directors are ready. Some of their number are also willing to take credit hire companies to court if that is

the only way to push down the ridiculous costs they claim. Good luck to them – if they win, it will be policyholders who benefit because, in this market, any savings will be passed onto premiums.

The Claims Top 50 also examines in depth some of the biggest issues facing the industry. The ticking timebomb of asbestos is about to explode: whisper it, but the worst may be yet to come. And claims inflation just keeps rising: what can be done to counter it?