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Three top insurance claims problems that happen all the time - from the policyholder's perspective

Three top insurance claims problems that happen all the time - from the policyholder's perspective

In her latest blog Cathy Hawkins, a solicitor with insurance claim expertise acquired in three decades at the coal face, highlights the three top insurance claims problems from the policyholder’s perspective.

1 Delay and this one causes much angst, even when the insurer does agree to cover. The claims response is often slow, sometimes because the process is fragmented with third party providers doing key work but constantly having to refer up. Each time that happens, multiple times in some claims, there is more delay. But the policyholder can be a private individual with their home ripped apart, or a business desperate for funds to keep going. At least since last year there is a possibility of redress, thanks to an amendment to the Insurance Act 2015, allowing the possibility of damages.

2 A misunderstanding of the policy terms. It is really surprising but it happens amazingly often that the insurer, or its agents, don’t understand how the insurer’s own terms work. Sometimes the problem is that a very literal interpretation of the terms is just not the correct interpretation, so it is hard for policyholders even to realise that is wrong. It’s worth getting advice if you have any doubt at all.

3 A failure to engage in understanding the policyholder’s needs. Quite a lot of problems would be eliminated if people spoke to each other. Letters and emails go out but the insurer has not understood the insured’s point of view nor explained its own. Sometimes people proceed down a line of approach based on misunderstanding, when they could have learned really useful information by talking that would have short-circuited everything. For example asking for information that doesn’t exist instead of finding out why it doesn’t. I notice that an insurer who topped the table for customer satisfaction is one that makes a big, in-house effort on claims to talk to the policyholder at length, and takes pride in it.

The answer to improving the experience of the policyholder is to address these problems. In the meantime, policyholders with large or complicated problems need good claims advice to navigate the pitfalls, especially if their financial security depends on it.