’With remote working, it’s really difficult, particularly with larger teams,’ says non-executive director 

Insurers ”still haven’t got their act together post-Covid” to provide “simplicity” when it comes to claims service.

That was according to David Williams, non-executive director of Freedom Services Group, who said the industry was currently “witnessing a decline in customer experience across the board”.

Williams made the comments as Insurance DataLab revealed that there was a trend where the majority of complaints made about insurance firms were linked to the claims process, with almost four out of five of such complaints referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The study evaluated performance across four key pillars, including starts claims, customer satisfaction, complaints and transparency.

The figures were highlighted during a webinar hosted by Insurance DataLab last week (12 December 2023), which was entitled Customer experience in age of Consumer Duty.

Williams, who was part of the webinar, said that there were people “not getting the claims service that they require”.

“The big [issue] is that insurers still haven’t got their act together post-Covid,” he added.

“With remote working, it’s really difficult, particularly with larger teams, to get the productivity levels that you need.”

Return to office

This came after the FOS revealed earlier this year (11 October 2023) that 24,496 general insurance and pure protection complaints were made during H1 2023, up from 19,346 in H2 2022.

And its quarterly data, which was published earlier this year (14 September 2023), revealed that complaints over building, car and motorcycle insurance hit a five-year high in the first three months of the current financial year.

Willaims felt that the industry was “witnessing a decline in customer experience across the board – and part of this can be attributed to the productivity levels post-Covid”.

He claimed the shift in work dynamics and challenges associated with remote working following the pandemic seemed to have impacted the ability of companies to maintain the same level of service and customer satisfaction as before.

For example, Williams highlighted a situation where an unnamed company declared a mandate for everyone to return to the office full-time after asserting that Covid was over.

However, they reportedly lost employees, which Williams felt indicated reservations and concerns people have about returning to a traditional office setting on a constant basis.

And while Williams felt  insurance companies “want to bring employees back to the office because they recognise the benefits of training”, he said there “seems to be a widespread hesitancy among companies to enforce a full-time return to the office.”