At a glance
- Excellent claims management is critical to Zurich customers
- The key to achieving this is a determination to get the best outcome for the customer
- The 'GCUK Claims Commitment' is Zurich's pledge to be the best
We talk to Mark Blanchard, Global Corporate UK Claims Director, about Zurich’s unique and market-leading commitment, and what this means for customers moving forward.
Q. How did the Zurich ‘Claims Commitment’ come about?
Mark: In February 2014, we met with a group of our Relationship customers and simply asked them: ‘What does it mean to be the best?’ One of the most interesting things to come out of that meeting was that they felt that most insurers were firmly ‘in the pack’. No-one was really standing out – and we wanted to!
So, there and then we began the process of consulting with our customers, our brokers and our staff, with the aim of working out how we could be the very best at claims handling.We knew that claims handling is often the main priority for those who buy insurance, and the quality of the claims handling procedure is the thing that really makes an insurer stand out against competitors.
Q. What is at the heart of the new commitment?
Mark: Our proposition is all about the relationships we have with our brokers and customers, and through the spirit of collaboration achieving good customer outcomes. Our ambition is to make claiming both easier and faster.
Q. How exactly will you get that result?
Mark: Our commitment is made up of four principles. The first one is collaboration; we won’t tell you what the answer is, we will work with you and our customer to come to a conclusion together that achieves the right customer outcome.
The second principle is to make it personal. We make our commitment not only to the person we are dealing with directly, but also the organisation they represent; we will do our best to really understand what they need from us.
The third principle is to reduce the level of effort involved in a claim. Some large claims can be very complex and time consuming, and we aim to make the process as smooth as possible.
The final principle is clarity: we will give all parties the information they need, when you need it, in a clear and straightforward way.
Q. How can you make your management of the claims experience the best it can be?
Mark: Long before a loss occurs we will make sure everyone involved knows what to expect. We run scenario-testing workshops with brokers and customers, to work through what will happen, and test the policy against a likely claim.
If a loss is triggered we will run the claim using a project-managed approach. We put everyone who manages large claims through proper training aimed at helping customers through the process, and will respond to certain metrics that everyone understands – such as an initial response within 24-hours.
Throughout the claim we will be marking our progress against specific milestones, and be open about how well we are performing against these markers.
Q. What’s the reaction been from customers?
Mark: They are telling us that if we get this right, then we will be clear market-leaders. At the launch in Zurich in February this year, when we trialled parts of the proposition, the customers present were very positive about our proposition, its flexibility, and the speed at which we would be able bring everyone to the table.
In fact, one relationship customer actually said that they hoped that they had a claim just to try it all out!
Q. What about the future?
Mark: We want to demonstrate to our customers our delivery against the commitment. We want to continuously evolve to ensure that the commitment remains relevant. And we want to keep talking to our customers about how their risks are changing, and hold regular ‘horizon-scanning’ meetings to address the big issues. For example, at a recent session we were discussing autonomous vehicles, which are fast becoming a reality.
They raise all sorts of liability issues, such as what would happen if a driverless car was heading down a road towards an inevitable collision with a group of pedestrians. Does the car elect to crash into those pedestrians that are stood to the right, those on the left,or those directly in front? A collision is inevitable and some pedestrians are going to get hurt. One such big question is, what are the rules and who defines them.
We need to make sure we are having the conversations now that will make us ready for the future.