At Protection Guru, we are always interested to hear how insurers are going above and beyond what might be reasonably expected of them. In terms of claims, we expect insurers to pay all valid claims, however it is often the little touches that a client may not expect that can really make the insurer stand out. Aviva launched their 2019 claims report today, however rather than just focusing on the stats, they highlight some of the initiatives implemented over the last year to improve claims experience.
In terms of the claims stats for 2019, Aviva paid 98.6% of life claims (including terminal illness), 93.1% of critical illness claims and 85.7% of income protection claims. In total 26,512 claims were paid amounting to just under £982 million. Whilst the income protection claims paid stat is lower than we’d like, the sheer number and amount of claims highlights the size of Aviva’s book.
Beyond the statistics, however there is some impressive information around initiatives that have been developed to provide more than just financial support to clients in their time of need. One example of this is “Project Teddy”. The term “Project Teddy” is used within the Aviva claims team for anything child-related with the aim of;
“Working out how we (Aviva) go the extra mile for our customers and how can we brighten their child’s day. The whole family is affected when a child is seriously ill, so we (Aviva) want to be there for everyone.”
In order to fulfil this aim, the Aviva claims team look to capture more than just the diagnosis and treatment when they are notified of a child claim. Like all insurers they will signpost the claimant to any relevant additional support they can offer, however they will also ask questions about the child themselves and the family situation as a whole. In doing so the claims team can build a better picture of the child’s likes and dislikes and how the situation they find themselves in, may be impacting the parents and any siblings.
Based on these conversations, Aviva have been able to fast track payments and have even paid claims within 30 minutes of the initial notification as they were satisfied that the child met the critical illness definition from the information they obtained. This in itself is impressive, however what is more impressive is that based on the information they are able to capture on the call, they will also look to provide each family member with an additional gift. For the child affected this could be a cuddly toy, train set, specialist sensory gifts or arts and crafts. Similarly it could be a toy or gift for the child’s siblings or even a restaurant voucher or hamper for the parents to try and take a break. Such small gifts are often not what a claimant would expect but may bring some small respite and joy at what will be a very difficult time for the family as a whole.
In addition to the support provided to families when a child is poorly, Aviva have also been working with MacMillan and cancer nurse specialists to help improve the claims experience for those diagnosed with cancer. In most cases a client diagnosed with cancer will be referred to a cancer nurse specialist to support them through their treatment. This nurse will be provided with the full details of the diagnosis and treatment plan. In recognition of this, when informed of a cancer claim on one of their critical illness plans, Aviva will ask the client if they can speak to their cancer nurse specialist. If permission is granted they will contact the nurse as soon as possible and based on the nurses confirmation pay the claim. In doing so, they have been able to cut the time taken to pay claims for cancer from 60 days to 25 hours on average. This is a massive reduction in the time it takes for the family to receive payment.
The Aviva claims report is a great resource for advisers and seems to improve year on year. It provides not only useful stats but also real life stories from claimants. Whilst I would like to see a little more information on why income protection claims in particular have not been paid, the report remains one of the strongest in the market. The addition of initiatives such as Project Teddy, highlights that Aviva are going above and beyond what a client may ordinarily expect from their life insurer. Such initiatives highlight that they are constantly challenging themselves to find new ways to improve their processes, and will be remembered by clients just as much as the financial pay out they receive.