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Brokers Leading The Way On ClaimsWednesday 13th October 2010

The clampdown on claim settlements by insurance companies is proving the worth of local brokers, says Ian Gosden, managing director of Higos Insurance Services.

Tougher economic conditions, an increase in claims generated by ‘no win no fee’ claim companies and a rise in insurance fraud are all forcing up costs for insurance companies, as a result of which they are tightening their belts.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that recent figures provided by BIBA, the British Insurance Brokers Association, reveal that an increasing number of claims are being disputed by insurers, who are applying stricter interpretations of policy wordings. This is resulting, in the words of BIBA, in “a too frequent reduction in the amount offered in claims settlements”.

This is where people looking for the best insurance but who are won over by cheap prices on insurance comparison websites can lose out, Gosden warns.

“Going for the cheapest cover from a website may seem a sensible option at the time of purchase, but insurance is there for when things go wrong and an insurance policy is only as good as its promise to pay out when the policyholder needs to claim upon it,” Gosden says.

“Those buying through websites can often come unstuck because the policy they have bought does not deliver what they expect when they need it, or the insurer is taking a tougher line on the policy wording.”

Gosden continues: “However, buying insurance through a local broker will ensure not only that the policyholder’s needs are properly covered but local brokers are there for the policyholder and where a dispute with the insurer occurs they can use their expert knowledge, technical understanding and expertise in negotiations to achieve a better result.

“As brokers we are here to listen to consumers, to talk through the cover that best suits their needs and find the best priced policy to match those needs. We will also know which insurers are policyholder friendly and which may be proving intransigent in their claims handling.

“If a claim then arises and the policyholder is experiencing difficulties, the skills and experience of the broker can very often help resolve a situation which individuals will find very difficult to bring to a satisfactory conclusion on their own. At Higos we have a dedicated Claims Department, who are responsible for assisting our clients through the claims process.”

BIBA figures show 67% of brokers are having to fight harder to get claims paid and 93% regularly negotiate up to a 20% uplift in claim settlements through their intervention.

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