A welcome focus on insurer claims processes
Last week saw The Protection Distributors Group (PDG) announce fourteen insurers as signatories for its Claims Charter for 2023, while a new measure has been introduced for signatories in 2024 amid claim delays. At Protection Guru, like many in the industry, we believe the claim is the most important part of a policy so this announcement is very welcome and it is great to see so many insurers signed up.
The PDG are a group of protection intermediary firms who work together to improve both customer and distributor outcomes. The charter was created to ensure claimants have the best support; a caring, efficient and hassle-free experience with claims paid as quickly as possible.
In order to be able to sign up to the PDG claims charter insurers must meet the following criteria
- Dedicated Claims Team available, with a phone-based claims process for claimants to submit and manage their claim throughout, supported by digital documentation to assess claim efficiently. Paperwork only used where there are no digital alternatives possible or where claimant requests.
- No potential claimant can be turned away by anyone not on the Claims Team.
- Claimants to have named point of contact, with regular updates to claimants at least every two weeks, unless otherwise agreed, to keep them informed of progress. Queries from claimants during the claims process to be responded to by end of next working day.
- Intermediaries are notified of all claims when made, to include the product being claimed on, without the customer being asked to opt in. Opt out options should be avoided whenever possible, but if the customer explicitly asks for their intermediary not be informed then their wish must be adhered to.
This will ensure records can be updated and no potential distress caused to clients and families through the intermediary not knowing about a claim.
- Pro-actively offers the PDG Funeral Payment Pledge and/or advances payments to speed up life cover claims where there is no trust in place, or where other factors could delay payment being made.
- Once a claim is approved, money is to be paid to the claimant within 72 hours (ignoring external factors out of insurer control such as probate), excluding income protection claims which should be paid at the earliest available payment date.
The 2023 signatories are: AIG, British Friendly, Guardian, Holloway Friendly, HSBC Life, Legal & General, LV=, MetLife, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Shepherds Friendly, The Exeter, Vitality and Zurich.
Here at Protection Guru we are really pleased to see the PDG continue to focus on this area as over the last year we’ve heard and been asked to get involved in so many poor claims experiences. Examples of this include Insurers quoting 30 days just to look at a claim through to poor communication of decisions and the reason behind the decision (typically when a claim has been declined). The claims process is certainly an area where insurers need to improve. Would a new business application take in excess of 30 days just to be reviewed, it’s highly unlikely. The PDG have advised that they will be adding in an SLA for claims in 2024.
Ultimately the reason clients take out a protection policy is to provide the financial support when they need it the most and are most vulnerable. If they have a poor experience this negatively impacts the protection industry as a whole. With that in mind we are looking forward to what improvements will be made to the overall process with focus from the PDG and wide insurer commitment.
Join Us for a demo of ProtectionGuruPRo
In other news, Adam Higgs and I are holding a live ProtectionGuruPro demonstration on Wednesday 23rd August at 9am. For those of you who have not seen or used ProtectionGuruPro before and would like to learn more, please do contact me directly for joining instructions ([email protected]).
Mortgage advisers, it is Your chance to Have your say
AMI Protection Viewpoint is back for a fourth consecutive year and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) is calling on mortgage advisers to complete a short survey.
Why should you get involved?
- It takes less than five minutes to complete. You don’t have to be an AMI member.
- Your knowledge is essential to give AMI and the wider market a deeper understanding of how protection is viewed and sold.
- It will help AMI shape its strategic plans on protection over the next 12 months.
Thank you for your support in what we realise are busy times.
AMI will share the findings alongside sponsors L&G and Royal London in a launch event at 9am on 8 November. To find out more about Viewpoint, please click here.