The value invested by the major insurance companies in establishing and developing their brands is such that they expect their supply partners to do the same.

When providing an outsourced service, you need to be an integral part of the selling and support of your customer's brand. As claims and risk management experts, we are not just offering a claims handling service; we are part of what the policyholder has bought – a complete package of support in times of crisis.

Working in harmony

In order for us to demonstrate clearly the brand values of a major insurer we need to work closely with our customer to understand and embrace the brand. This must then be shown when we are dealing with the policyholder, who has an expectation of service, based on the brand they have bought.

A brand contains three key elements:

  • what you get
  • how you feel about it
  • whom it is from.

    The unique components of brand that Crawford understands are reputation, product and service performance, product brand and customer portfolio and, finally, networks of suppliers and alliances to deliver service. If a brand is about what is experienced, then clearly a failure to deliver the promise must damage the brand.

    If the brand value of the insurer is honesty, then we must reflect that by being straightforward in everything we say to the policyholder. We would seek to emulate the values of simplicity and flexibility in making the claims process easy.

    How is this instilled in our own people? By selecting the right staff, offering dedicated training, role play and fact sheets, we have to educate our claims handling teams that brand values are an everyday reality for the people we come face to face with.

    It is vital not simply to focus on technical training and omit the softer aspects in developing staff. Equally, it is important to ensure that the satisfaction of the policyholder is monitored and that there are rewards for understanding the need for service. Staff who will embody the brand values of our customers in any event are extremely valuable.

    It may seem unusual for a loss adjuster to be involved in discussing an insurance company's brand, but the loss adjuster is responsible for how the brand is viewed on the policyholder's doorstep. Service suppliers have to be highly customer service-focused in order to deliver for their customer and, in turn, the insured.

    Crawford sets out to enhance customers' overall service offering and takes very seriously the need to learn about an insurer's brand values in order to become a seamless and natural extension of their business.

  • Jonathan Clark is director of strategic operations development for the UK, Europe and Africa division at Crawford's.

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