Zurich looks at what to expect from the SME claims process

sme claims process

What kind of claims service should SMEs expect?

Insurance is about protecting the things you value – and your SME clients rely on your expertise as a broker to help them find the right level of protection should a loss occur.

While bigger firms may be able to absorb the impact of a fire, flood or other major loss, such incidents could jeopardise an SME’s ability to trade, unless they have the right cover in place.

Jon Taylor, Commercial Property Team Manager, Zurich, says: “SME customers have often got a lot of their own money tied up in their business, so even a small claim can lead to a significant cash flow issue.”

Our SME property proposition has been carefully constructed to respond to the full range of risks your property-owning clients could face. For example, we know that unlawful occupation is a major risk, with the most recent government figures suggesting there are around 20,000 squatters in England. Our commercial and residential property policies’ core cover includes the cost of evicting squatters – as well as up to £100,000 in legal expenses.


What kind of claims service should your clients expect?

These are just a couple of the ways in which our cover has been designed to respond to specific customer needs. However, we understand that insurance isn’t just about the cover – it’s also about the claims experience.

While many customers may have an idea of what level of premium they expect to pay – most don’t understand the importance of a claims service until they need to make a claim. As a broker, you have an important responsibility to explain the type of claims service your clients are likely to receive.

“If customers are not happy with their claims service, or if a claim is disputed, that’s the point at which customers are likely to start pointing the finger at their broker,” says Neil Fraser, Claims Proposition Manager, Zurich.

Our firm commitment to the Insurance Act can give you real peace of mind that we will be fair, so you can deliver on the promises you make to your customers. If all relevant information is submitted on ZTrade based on your understanding from the SME we will take this as fair presentation of risk. This shows how we are committed to going the extra mile to protect your customers’ businesses.


Excessive focus on price

One of the challenges you may face when placing SME business, is that your clients may be overly focussed on price. This is where you can play an important role by reminding your clients of the main reason to purchase insurance in the first place – to protect their business in the event of a loss.

“If a customer has a claim and receives a poor claims service, the fact that they saved a bit on their premium isn’t really going to seem that relevant,” says Fraser.

When a Zurich customer reports a claim over the phone, the person they speak to isn’t just a call handler taking down the customer’s details – it’s somebody who can actually deal with the claim and offer guidance and support there and then.


The cash flow challenge

With so many small and medium-sized enterprises facing cash flow issues due to late payments (our latest Zurich SME Risk Index reveals Britain’s SMEs are owed a total of £44bn in late payments), the last thing any business wants is for a delay in the settling of an insurance claim to add to the problem.

Taylor says: “We are always willing to listen to our customers in terms of their individual needs. If there is a cash flow issue, we will do everything in our power to move it forward to keep them trading.”

Zurich was also one of the first insurers to publically set out its support for the Enterprise Act, which gives customers the right to seek damages if they have suffered a loss because their insurer has unreasonably delayed payment of a claim.


Settlement is about more than just speed

“Very few claims are just about getting a cheque to a customer,” says Fraser.

“If there has been a fire, an escape of water incident, or storm damage, a customer may be unable to use their premises.”

Zurich has partnered with a network of supplier organisations to help ensure that your SME customers can quickly resume their business operations following a loss.

Our partnership with First Recovery gives rapid access to alternative business premises, telephony and IT

Our partnership with CATS (Computer and Technology Solutions) means we are able to quickly source replacements for a wide range of computer equipment.

Even if a business has unusual premises requirements, we can often find a solution. For example, we have been able to help a number of dental practices carry on treating customers following a major loss, by providing a mobile dental unit.

This open and flexible approach extends to the way we work with brokers.

“We can tailor our offering and put individual agreements in place for each individual broker, for example working with specific loss adjusters or specific suppliers,” says Taylor.

More important than any one area of our claims service is our overall ethos.

“It’s never just about settling the claim quickly – our approach is always to do whatever we can to keep our customers in business,” says Fraser.

To find out more about Zurich’s SME proposition, please speak to your local Zurich contact or visit zurich.co.uk/broker/sme/