Claims brokers should explore ways to hone their client skills across multiple categories, say the companies interviewed at Canadian Underwriter2021 Trusted Advisor Survey.
Only 36% of respondents – business clients of brokers – said they were satisfied or very satisfied that their broker “helped me through the complaints process to clear up the confusion and get things done quickly.” And 42% said the broker “helped me out when I had concerns about how my claim was handled.”
“The overall interpretation for me was that brokers maybe drop the ball by staying in contact with the insured as the claim progresses,” said Patti Kernaghan, President and CEO of Kernaghan. Adjusters in Vancouver. “They need to have an idea of how often to contact a customer during the complaints process.”
She notes that there is a “very big disparity” between the 45% of respondents who were satisfied that their brokers contacted them once the complaint was completed, compared with only 30% saying that the broker explained to them how to report a complaint to their insurance company. .
Kernaghan suggests this illustrates a lack of proactivity on the part of brokers, with too many responding only after the fact.
The survey found that only 24% of those surveyed were satisfied that their broker had “proactively provided information on what to do if I needed to make a claim.”
Curtis Killen, president of KBD Insurance Inc. in Montreal, was surprised at how few business clients supported this claim. “There is definitely room for improvement… without the customer having to ask,” he says.
There has also been positive feedback. A total of 91% of respondents were satisfied with the way brokers litigated on their behalf with the insurance company / claims adjuster. Another 91% said the broker makes sure their complaints are treated fairly, and 88% found their brokers respond to inquiries about complaints quickly.
This level of satisfaction shows that brokers show a high degree of care, says Killen. “We make our living finding new customers,” he says. “We work on them so hard that when something goes wrong we absolutely want to make sure they’re taken care of properly. “
Another call for improvement was the finding that only 73% of respondents were satisfied that their broker “sympathizes with your situation” during the claims process.
Kernaghan recognizes that the complaints process automatically makes conversations with customers difficult. “People feel like a victim when they have a claim,” she said, adding that these circumstances highlight the need for brokers to call clients and be empathetic.
“Is it difficult for a broker to call them and empathize?” It is not a happy call. But we are in the area of complaints. We buy insurance to help protect customers in the event of a disaster, ”she says. “So reaching out and empathizing is, I think, a very important function of a broker – and not just that first call, but to know how they are doing throughout the process. “
An important part of the process of hiring brokers should be finding people who empathize while having the right technical skills for the job, says Kernaghan. Empathy can help speed up the complaints process and reduce grinding issues. It is also an opportunity for the insured to share his feelings and concerns.
“Sometimes that’s all it takes,” she adds.
Killen says his company is looking to hire empathetic people. “In a perfect scenario, you’re going to have people who are empathetic. You are going to have people who are proactive, and you are going to have people who have a sense of sales, who listen to their customers, ”he notes.
Killen believes that empathy can be taught, to some extent. “If someone isn’t naturally empathetic, they’ll never get to the point where they’ll be as empathetic as [a naturally] empathetic person, ”he says. “But I think there is training that can be done.”
Even in the age of digitization, Kernaghan notes that the personal touch never goes out of style.
If a customer is in a difficult disaster situation because, for example, a house fire has caused them to lose the use of their kitchen, “send them a handwritten card in the mail and include a coffee card or restaurant menu. Let them know you are thinking of them, ”she advises.
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