At a glance
- Zurich has full-time in-house claims inspectors based all over the UK
- Zurich offers increased service levels to deal with new MOJ claims reforms
- Our claims inspectors can provide market-leading expertise for brokers’ customers
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The upheaval to the UK claims landscape, with the recent introduction of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) reforms of civil litigation, has seen insurers adapting their service to deal with new personal injury claims.
Zurich, for instance, has bolstered its team of claims inspectors to increase the proportion of claims being assessed in person by its claims inspectorate.
This move was partly brought about by the MOJ reforms that have vastly altered the legal landscape with regard to personal injury claims aiming to speed up the claims process and removing some cost layers – although these are offset by an increase in general damages.
So, now with Zurich’s enhanced Claims Team, customers can be reassured that their claims will benefit from the right case management in this new claims world, defending properly the cases that should be defended.
Insider caught up with three Zurich claims experts to find out more.
Q. What are the key benefits for brokers when it comes to working with Zurich’s claims inspectors?
Neil Fraser, Claims Proposition Manager, Commercial Broker (pictured): Zurich is rare amongst insurers in having an in-house team of claims inspectors and that was to make sure we had control over our expertise and investigators, rather than outsourcing it, which would have meant less control. It gives us more rapid response and flexibility.
Face-to-face interaction with the customer ensures that the most accurate assessments are performed and decisions taken faster. Claims inspectors are also able to talk to witnesses, see the site for themselves and get an overall view of the situation – that can’t always be done in the office. Zurich’s claims inspectors only work for Zurich, ensuring they are dedicated to our customers and brokers.
A day in the life of a claims inspector
Mark Reeves describes a typical day.
7AM: Recap on the day’s inspection and what is required.
9AM: Head off to my first stop, a leading brand in the marine industry, to examine three employer liability claims, which have just been referred to me.
10AM: My first priority is to meet with their HR manager and health and safety manager to discuss the claimants’ allegations. I also use this opportunity to see whether I can spot any suspicious activity while collating documentation evidence for the claims, and discuss what measures could be taken to prevent any similar incidents arising in the future.
12PM: I want to take a better look at the places where two of the accidents were said to have taken place, so I’m taken through to the production lines. There, I examine the areas more closely and take photographic evidence. This is a great opportunity to get a better understanding of a customer’s business.
2PM: I then take the time to discuss the recent Ministry of Justice reform changes with the customer. With high pressures to reduce the amount of time spent investigating a claim, my focus this year is to manage the upcoming changes with our customers and work with them to get the best claim settlements for both them and us.
4.30PM: When I return to the office, I go back to my desk to document my findings and prepare for my next assignment.
Lorraine Androlia, Southern Operations Manager, Field Force Team: By being on the ground and having that relationship with the broker and customer, our claims inspectors have built up a better knowledge and understanding.
Q. How has Zurich adjusted to changes in the industry and how does this help brokers and their customers?
Gareth Ellis, National Field Force Manager: We realised that the MOJ reforms were going to bring about major changes to claims. We therefore ensured that our claims inspector teams were dedicated to supporting brokers and customers through the change and challenging them, where appropriate, to meet the new MOJ targets.
By working in partnership with brokers, Zurich’s claims inspectors are able to spot issues in customer’s risk management policies and processes, and give developmental feedback.
Our claims inspectors provide a service that’s already included in the customer’s premium, so it’s provided at no extra charge to the cost of the individual claim. This means that they are deployed on claims where they can make a difference to claims defensibility or the customer experience, not merely where the financial value of the claim would trigger their instruction.
Q. So what have been the most common claims since the MOJ reforms kicked in?
Gareth: It’s early days at the moment, but most of the claims through the portal have been public liability claims. Our claims inspectors have responded well to the new challenges and the new investigation processes are working well within the required timescales.
Lorraine: Our claims inspectors are key cogs in the process. They not only give an on-site investigative service but also form a hugely experienced technical resource to support the wider liability claims teams. Due to our preparations for the changes, our claims team are already experienced in dealing with reduced timescales, so we have every confidence that they can maximise that.
Neil: Every processed claim up to £25,000 is done through an online portal that is designed to speed up the process. We ensure that none of the stringent timescales are missed and avoid attracting higher costs if deadlines are missed.
Claims go to the relevant Zurich claims inspector. This takes advantage of their individual and collective expertise – be it their investigative and technical skillset or their relationship with the customer.
Neil Fraser, Claims Proposition Manager (Commercial Broker)
Q. How else do Zurich’s in-house claims inspectors stand out from the competition?
Neil: The increase in the number of in-house claims inspectors at Zurich means that on average our claims inspectors only have to travel 14 miles to an investigation site, which ensures that they have local knowledge and working relationships with customers. Once on site, they check that the customer is informed of all relevant issues and educate them in identifying risk management opportunities to protect against future incidents.
The claims inspectors possess ISO certification and have years of experience to underline their expertise and knowledge.
One of our major customer’s recently told us that Zurich’s in-house claims inspectors “understand our business; it is not just about insurance claims”. It is this experience that is key to our relationship with brokers and their customers.