I have just read with interest the letter regarding a worrying claims trend in the latest issue of Insurance Times (Letters, 2 February).

It is a pity the author felt it was necessary to withhold their name and address, presumably because they are concerned their comments may well cause problems with insurers with whom they deal, or indeed perhaps with their current employer.

This is also a worrying trend, as it means that once again the customers who insurers are so keen to say they wish to protect and treat fairly cannot be given proper representation because people within our own industry cannot criticise without fear of possible retribution.

I have been working in the insurance industry for more than 30 years, and have been a loss adjuster for 25 of those.

I am proud of my profession but have to agree with the anonymous writer in that during the past few years insurers appear to be endeavouring to find ways to deny claims or reduce settlements, despite investigations carried out by their adjusters, who should be acting impartially.

My own company also represents policyholders, and recent statistics following three years of trading show that where we have been appointed to deal with claims which have been repudiated, in more than 90% of cases that repudiation has been overturned because an incorrect decision was made in the first place, perhaps by insurers' apparent keenness to save costs at the expense of treating their customers fairly.

Of course, it could be that a lack of skills within claims departments, and the continuing trend towards failing to appoint adjusters or pay a sensible fee, may also be a contributing factor.

I consider it of the utmost importance that any policyholder who submits a claim should be given the courtesy of having their claim correctly investigated by a qualified professional so that the industry's reputation can be upheld and hopefully improved by fair handling and decision making where claims are involved.

It is no surprise that in the present climate, more and more people are turning to companies such as mine to represent them, whereas adjusters always used to act predominantly for insurers.

Surely, it cannot be correct that a policyholder has to pay a fee to get their claim handled correctly when that fee is not recoverable, even if it can be proven that an incorrect decision has been made when a claim has been repudiated or reduced.

I look forward to hearing the views of other readers.

Chris Ray
Pioneer Adjusting