When I learned about the theme for this year’s British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) conference, two thoughts immediately sprung to mind.
Thought number one rather mischievously took root to question whether BIBA 2014’s “Customer, Customer, Customer” mantra could be [mis]interpreted as an example of the industry marking its own homework. Thankfully, thought number two immediately rescued me from my cynicism once the identities of the conference sessions’ panelists and scrutineers became clear.
Wednesday morning’s keynote session will be chaired by financial journalist Paul Lewis with a trio of industry heavyweights on a panel answering the question, “Just how good are we at customer service?”
Regular listeners to his Saturday lunchtime show Moneybox on BBC Radio 4 will know that poor service or failure to deliver in times of need are precisely the types of issues for which Mr. Lewis regularly hauls the insurance industry over the coals. As such, thought number onehas been well and truly banished from my own aforementioned internal debate.
Nevertheless, the question of “Just how good are we at customer service?” does demand frequent review if we are to maintain our record of delivery for customers. This is particularly true in the wake of yet another year of challenges for the industry in which our reputation from point of sale, right the way through first notification of loss and on to settlement has been regularly called into question.
From Crawford’s perspective, our strength in numbers gives us the ability to handle claims of any size across the U.K. and while this has been put to the test after yet another winter of extremes, the feedback we receive from policyholders and insurers is fabulous. All feedback enables us to analyze our performance and ensure the right levels of investment are put in place.
This investment is best illustrated in the sheer number of individuals at Crawford who achieved sought-after professional qualifications. In 2013, over 100 new qualifications were awarded across the business, with employees achieving awards that ranged from associate-level CII through to diplomas and fellowships. Secondly, our well-publicized process review has delivered a slicker operation that puts the customer at the front of all we do combined with a massive investment in technological infrastructure helps ensure we are at the cutting edge of today’s working methodologies.
Of course, the problem many companies find, not just Crawford, is that telling customers about our successes often takes a back seat in the day-to-day work of handling insurance claims. Thankfully, the collaborative nature of our industry in which a variety of professionals play a role in the cycle means we can demonstrate our value when we put our minds to it. Crawford has recently completed a short film alongside Aviva and Merrick Hill Insurance Brokers, telling the real-life story of their customer, a motorcycle dealership called PFK Ling, who suffered a flood claim and lived to tell the tale.
With case studies like this, and the wealth of experience on show at BIBA 2014, the insurance industry will be well-placed to field even the sternest test Mr. Lewis can muster.
Greg Gladwell, CEO, UK & Ireland, Crawford & Company