SMEs’ claims service expectations not matched in reality

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There remains a clear gap between the experiences and expectations of SMEs in the UK when it comes to making a commercial insurance claim.

A survey commissioned by Lorega has found that 70% of SMEs who have made a claim of over £5,000 in the last two years say that interim and final claims amounts have not been agreed promptly. The MGA and loss recovery insurance specialist has also revealed that six out of ten SMEs received no advice on loss mitigation as part of the claims process and that only 16% of SMEs had a loss adjustor visit them within 24 hours of reporting a claim.

In addition, almost 60% of SMEs had no regular communication from their insurer on claim progress and over half got no explanation of claims responsibilities.

When asked to what extent their insurance company and its loss adjuster understood the impact of the loss on the business, over half of SMEs said they only understood somewhat or partially. Just under 6% said they did not understand at all.

The results of those who made a claim contrasted with what many SMEs expected their insurer to provide.

SMEs surveyed who had not made a claim, had clear views on the most important aspects they would expect to receive as part of the claims service. At the top of the list was for their insurer to provide regular communication on the claim’s progress. This was closely followed by advice and support in preparing a claim and prompt agreement of interim and final claims settlements.

Also featuring highly were expectations around receiving information on cover and which sections might be relevant for the type of claim being made by an SME. Many SMEs also expect guidance from their insurer on how to mitigate the impact of the loss on their business.

Neill Johnstone, managing director of Lorega, said while the development and distribution of insurance products for SMEs was continuing to evolve, it was clear that challenges in the servicing and support available for SMEs in the event of a claim still needed to be overcome.

“The survey reflects a number of findings from the FCA’s thematic review on the handling of insurance claims for SMEs which was published over two years go,” said Johnstone.

“It’s clear that the industry needs to take a more holistic approach to supporting SMEs who suffer claims of £5,000 and over, developing covers that include a responsive claims services with access to professional support and expertise, to ensure the trading and financial impact on SMEs is kept to a minimum.”

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About Author

Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk