Overflow contract with Crawford under review

HBOS has placed its household claims overflow contract under review after losing faith in the big three loss adjusters.

Jim Pittman, HBOS head of household claims, said that its three-year overflow contract with Crawford would end this month and that it was under review.

He said: "We are considering if there is a better offering in the market. Having used all three major adjusters - Cunningham Lindsey, GAB Robins and Crawford - in the past five years, we don't yet see a clear differentiator between them. We are not sure a smaller player can provide what we require either.

"The review by my colleagues in supplier management will determine the next steps," he added.

Since Pittman returned to his old job at HBOS at the end of last year, after leaving to start-up Gibraltar-based Redsands Insurance in 2004, he has been working on expanding the claims offering within the group.

A new Nottingham office will open in October 2006 which will employ 350 people and Pittman is reviewing its in-house capabilities.

"We are working on building a career ladder for colleagues who join us to enable them to progress technically, all the way through to loss adjuster and surveyor level. This is partly due to the recognition that the insurance industry has failed to invest in claims staffing in the past 10 to 15 years and a crisis appears to be emerging," he said.

HBOS is also ready to develop a new claims system "to register, validate and route claims to suppliers, loss adjusters," according to Pittman.

"We are reflecting on the Royal & SunAlliance supplier approach already being used by Lloyds TSB and Co-op Insurance Services," he added.

Crawford UK chief executive Benedict Burke said: "We are in confidential discussions with the supplier management team and look forward to progressing matters to our mutual satisfaction."