Archana Makol, Client Services Director of DWF Claims Ltd , explores the key issues for managing claims (both insured and uninsured) against your business, and the ever increasing challenge of balancing spend against brand.
Claims can give a valuable insight into how a business is working – what is going well and what is not. For many businesses everyone is either a customer or a potential customer, so how any claim is handled immediately impacts brand and reputation. This is not particularly new, but most sectors have seen a rise in supplier costs, delays in securing expert opinion, coupled with an increase in agitated claimants in person. Once you add in how many claimants are turning to social media, it makes for a challenging environment.
And yet the tools for best resolving matters remain essentially the same.
Early intervention is still the best strategy - investigating a claim quickly and responding clearly ( particularly if delivering a message that is not wanted ) goes a long way. Being proactive and empathic is always welcomed, while having a clear process in place to spot fraud or exaggeration. A fair early offer and conclusion is what is needed in most cases, which means the remaining "proper" disputes get the focus and attention they need.
It is also easy to lose sight of what is agreed and what is not. If the evidence is clear that liability will attach and there is a loss ( injury or otherwise) , it is best to consider what evidence or expert opinion is actually needed to bring a matter to a close. Often there is enough information available to negotiate satisfactorily without getting lost in delays.
Trial by social media is naturally frustrating and it is important to sometimes stand firm. Most claimants won't resort to such tactics unless they feel unheard. Also, often social media can work against an unreasonable claimant, painting them in a poor light with other customers and having the opposite approach to that intended.
And of course, ultimately it is always about understanding why claims are happening, what are the repeat issues and improving risk management. Good claims data analysis is vital to that improved understanding and claims avoidance. That is the best brand protection of all.
Archana Makol is Client Services Director at DWF. Archana specialises in supporting corporate customers with their insurance claims and related needs and is a former Chief Counsel at BT, overseeing end to end operational delivery as well as providing related legal, safety and risk advice.