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Claims handling excellence enables ZPC to stand out from competition

At a glance

  • ZPC’s ethos is to deliver an excellent service to brokers and customers, which is built on speed, flexibility and trust
  • Specialist claims and underwriting teams, together with in-house client managers, make the ZPC proposition unique in the high net worth sector
  • Zurich’s Claims Service Charter also empowers claims specialists to provide flexible solutions for customers

Zurich Private Clients (ZPC) has this year risen to the challenge of a fluctuating economy by implementing several measures in order to enhance service levels to brokers and their high net worth customers.

Zurich Insider spoke with Matthew Schofield, Head of ZPC (pictured, left), and Stephen Bushby, Claims Manager, ZPC (right), to discover more.

Q: How has the economic environment affected Zurich Private Clients in 2013?

Matthew Schofield: From a customer’s perspective, the most noticeable effect has been the increasing value of gold and precious stones. As a direct result, we’ve seen an increase in customers buying fine art and jewellery as investments. Even customers who are not actively purchasing new items have seen the value of their existing schedules increase. Ensuring customers keep their valuations up-to-date is a challenge, and that’s where brokers can provide their support in identifying potential problems. By contrast, general contents and buildings have seen less of an increase and generally create fewer concerns for customers.

Discover how Zurich Private Clients can provide first-class protection for all your clients’ valuable possessions.

For the industry, it has been an extremely competitive environment this year. As such, our philosophy of focusing on customers and delivering excellent customer service has been the key area where we can stand apart from the competition. We’ve worked especially hard to improve this over the past 12 months across both claims and underwriting.

Stephen Bushby: We’ve noticed that investors now look towards alternatives to the traditional markets. One of our biggest challenges has been the unprecedented rise in the price of quality gems and precious metals, as well as contemporary fine art and classic cars.

Although we strive to do all that we can to support our customers in the event of significant underinsurance, maintaining up-to-date valuations has never been so important. To that extent, we are looking at ways in which we can better support our brokers and clients with valuation services, and this is something we hope to be able to talk more about early next year.

Q: In such a competitive environment, how are you focusing on your customers’ needs?

Matthew Schofield: Listening to our customers, both brokers and policyholders, is critical to continually improving the service we deliver. In 2013, we continued to focus on service quality through extensive market research with high net worth specialists and investing in transactional, real-time customer feedback. Brokers and customers tell us they want a brand they trust, based on what they know will be delivered time and again. Of course, price and product coverage is important, but having sought feedback on all aspects of our proposition from a group of high net worth specialist brokers, we know that our all-round proposition is competitive, offers the highest levels of cover available and, most importantly, delivers when it matters most.

Q. And what does that mean for your customers?

We’ve changed every customer touch point from underwriting to claims, focusing on two key areas – how can we make it faster and how can we make it easier

Matthew Schofield, Head of ZPC

Matthew Schofield: The broker research we conducted was extensive; face-to-face and telephone interviews were held with a wide range of brokers. The key messages were that they wanted fast response times and a flexible approach to support their clients’ needs, often at very short notice.

We’ve changed every customer touch point from underwriting to claims, focusing on two key areas – how can we make it faster and how can we make it easier. Both of these contribute to a great experience when dealing with us.

Our claims performance is a good example of our faster service, where we are now able to track settlement times and confirm that agreed payments are completed within 48 hours.

Our claims satisfaction survey shows how pleased our clients are with the service, and brokers consistently tell us that our claims service is market leading. That’s a huge compliment, because they expect the highest standards and it sets us apart.

Brokers also told us that to make transactions easier, flexibility was paramount. That is why at Zurich, a high net worth individual gets a bespoke approach to underwriting and claims handling. This often compliments the client’s dynamic lifestyle, as well as the relative rarity or value of the items insured.

Brokers expect us to step up and find solutions to often complex client requirements. It’s this flexible approach that allows Zurich to create and build trust, and that’s what we are about. Being part of the Zurich group also gives us greater global flexibility and financial stability.

We’ve now been around for over 10 years and ultimately it’s our vast high net worth expertise that fosters the trust within this market.

Q: That is quite an achievement. Is there anything else?

Our market-leading reputation has been built upon our consistent ability to achieve exceptional service over many years

Stephen Bushby, Claims Manager, ZPC

To make sure we continue to listen to our customers, we are the first high net worth insurer to implement a Net Promoter Score survey across all of our touch points, so now we have a ‘finger on the pulse’ and can act immediately to improve any aspect of our service.

It also means in the rare cases where customers aren’t getting the levels of service they expect, we get real-time feedback and can respond before it becomes a problem.

Stephen Bushby: Our market-leading reputation has been built upon our consistent ability to achieve exceptional service over many years. The skill and experience of the claims team is key and in 2013, the whole team achieved the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) qualification at Certificate level or above.

We also introduced our Claims Service Charter, which is founded on the claims handler taking ownership and accountability, providing flexible, common-sense solutions and reaffirming the fact that we place our customers at the centre of everything that we do.

We have made a conscious effort to increase the level of meaningful communication to brokers throughout the lifetime of the claim, supported by visits to discuss cases, the production of monthly reports, and providing specific nominated handlers in order to further enhance relationships and build trust. All of this has contributed towards fantastic customer survey feedback, with 100% of respondents confirming that they would recommend us to their colleagues. It is an amazing endorsement from both our customers and brokers.

Q: So, what are the benefits of working with ZPC?

Matthew Schofield: I think it comes back to the earlier points around trust. The broker’s reputation is put to the test at every touch point with the client and they have to feel confident that, when they consider placing business, the insurer is going to deliver for them.

We have a strong core product set, with services and propositions that we are confident deliver tangible value to the broker and their clients. We are looking to build on these further over the next few months.

We also have very experienced specialist teams based in Manchester and in London who spend a lot of their time face to face with the brokers making sure they get the right level of support. This, combined with our recently launched Net Promoter Score surveys, means that we continually listen, learn and respond to the needs of our brokers and their clients.

Listening to our customers, both brokers and policyholders, is critical to continually improving the service we deliver

Matthew Schofield, Head of ZPC

Stephen Bushby: As Matthew said, all our handlers are hugely experienced and multi-skilled, and no aspect of the claims process is ever outsourced. It is also an enormous benefit to be part of the Zurich Group, and to have that vast knowledge and those extensive contacts right at our fingertips.

We understand the importance of communication and throughout the whole of last year we were able to answer all calls into our team in an average of nine seconds.

We are also happy to provide any advice or assistance to our brokers on any claims-related matter, regardless of whether it’s a ZPC case or not. The claims team takes great pride in what we have achieved so far and brokers telling us that our claims proposition is the best in this market is the greatest testimony we could ask for. However, we know that what we did yesterday creates an expectation for today and tomorrow and we’re continuing to listen, understand and respond, so that we can continue to receive the same feedback in the future.

Q: What does ZPC have planned for 2014?

Matthew Schofield: Next year, we’re going to launch a new proposition for our ultra-high net worth customers. We believe we can offer something compelling and market leading to brokers who have ultra-high net worth clients, which will include valuable supporting services to help them manage their risks better and make dealing with Zurich as easy as possible. I’m looking forward to communicating some great customer-focused improvements early in the New Year.

Stephen Bushby: With the exciting launch of our new ultra-high net worth proposition just around the corner, we have been working hard to ensure that all aspects of our claims service match the expectation of a very demanding customer segment. It’s a continual process of learning and improving but we are starting from a very good place, based on what our brokers tell us about our claims service. We’re looking forward to stepping up to the challenge of making our service even better, and we’re confident that our expertise combined with our claims-handling philosophy will help us achieve this.

Image © Getty

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