Bruce Stevenson is one of the very few insurance brokers in the country to have a dedicated in-house Claims Department. Claims Department Manager, Trish Hume, explains what makes our service stand out.
Until you make a claim an insurance policy is effectively a promise you hope you will never have to rely on. But, if you do, the real value of insurance and the broker is revealed. Bruce Stevenson’s Claims Department handles around 3,000 claims a year and I often get asked if there is a right way or a wrong way to make a claim?
If we take damage to property as an example, the onus rests with the policyholder to take appropriate action to mitigate their loss and reduce the risk of further damage. On occasion, this responsibility can lead to misinterpretation of what should or can be done prior to referral to insurers. This is particularly prevalent in rental properties where the focus to reduce the impact on income derived from the property is key, and so can lead to decisions being made to complete all works deemed relevant to the source of damage with the understanding that submission of invoices to insurers thereafter will be adequate to support the intended claim.
Unfortunately, doing this can, in fact, prejudice the policyholder’s right to indemnity. Despite the onus to mitigate being in place, the policy will have further conditions which require works and/or costs to have the insurer’s prior written consent before proceeding. Completing all works effectively removes the evidence which is essential to making a successful claim and results in retrospective analysis of the circumstances, which often leads to delays in settlement or at times, a dispute with insurers around availability of cover.
The ”right” way to make a claim would be to call our Claims Department as soon as there is any incident which may give rise to a claim. Our Claims Handlers are highly experienced individuals and will provide advice/guidance regarding mitigation, what policy cover is available for the type of incident reported, what the client should do next and what information will be required to fully support the submission of the claim to insurers.
This is where having a broker proves beneficial, as we’ll robustly prepare the case on behalf of our clients to ensure not only compliance with policy terms and conditions but also favourable consideration from insurers within as quick a timescale as possible.
Bruce Stevenson always strives to manage expectations and ensure our clients are fully advised of their situation and on the rare occasion where an insurer seeks to reject a claim, our clients can be sure of our full support in reaching an understanding of the basis of the decision and what options may be available. We do not simply accept an insurers' decision to reject a claim, we will stress test and analyse that decision. If we find that we disagree with the verdict, we will prepare a challenge on behalf of our clients in order to have the decision overturned.
On occasion, I, or another member of our Claims Team will meet with our clients, or at the site of the claim to evaluate the circumstances first hand. This can help in our endeavour to ensure the claim will be met satisfactorily by the insurer.
Our Claims Department has handled many various and challenging situations throughout the years. These have allowed my team to build a robust skillset, which is also recognised within the industry. It’s rare to find a broker with an in-house claims team and even rarer to find one with Delegated Authority schemes with insurers.
Delegated Authority is where we effectively act directly on behalf of insurers in relation to the claim and provides us with the ability to make direct decisions regarding policy cover and settlement, which (subject to monetary limits and controls) usually results in a faster turnaround of our client’s claims. The level of trust to work with this autonomy wasn't earned overnight, it has been forged through having strong, collaborative working relationships with insurers.
Contrary to some understanding of a Broker Claims Department, we're not just a post box to pass on messages, we perform technical claims handling that always seeks to deliver results. Those who don't have an insurance broker with an in-house claims team can find themselves at a disadvantage at the point of making a claim. Our service ensures our clients benefit by receiving professional advice and expert support in making a successful claim.
Bruce Stevenson enjoys a retention rate of 95% of clients and the Claims Department play a big role in keeping our clients happy. They can be safe in the knowledge that we will always endeavour to do our best for them and seek to remain their ‘Broker of Choice’.