Majority of policyholders not happy with contents claims voucher settlements

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Twice as many contents insurance policyholders would prefer a replacement organised for them rather than vouchers or cash settlements in the event of a claim.

The finding has been made by claims specialist SBS Insurance Services, which says that the growing use of voucher schemes by insurers is not helping to promote real customer choice or satisfaction.

Research conducted by the company has discovered that just 15%-24% of respondents would like a voucher they could use at a high street chain specified by their insurer, and 10%-14% would prefer to take a discounted cash settlement.

When asked about their preferred method of settlement for a range of high value household items including jewellery and bicycles, the strength of feeling among respondents varied in line with how specialist the claim might be.

For a lost, damaged or stolen item of jewellery, 41% would prefer replacement, but this surged to 60% for bicycle claims which often need expert knowledge.

Tony Parkes, the commercial director at SBS Insurance said that the insurance industry had strong commercial incentives in place which encouraged take-up of vouchers, but these were not in line with what most people wanted.

“This option is usually fine for simple replacements for small electrical items, for example, and is obviously part of the mix of solutions to give claimants choice in how their claims are settled,” said Parkes. “But real customer choice is not just about product choice, and genuine customer service is not simply about letting people loose in a huge online warehouse to buy whatever they want.

“Customers should be given the settlement option that suits their needs.  And this means that insurers need claims handlers with the right skills set and sufficient life experience to really understand those needs,” he added.

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk