Welcome from the chair: Claire McDonald, chair of iWIN

Claire McDonald, iWIN

I had the honour this year to chair the panel of judges for the 2021 British Claims Awards. And I am now delighted to welcome you, in person and in real life to this year’s awards ceremony. 

Claims are the only promise we give to our customers, other than a policy (now in an electronic format), and the one area we need to get right. 

As you can imagine, Covid was somewhat prevalent in all of the submissions for this year’s British Claims Awards. There was a clear demonstration to us, the judging panel, of the adaptability and agility of the insurance industry as a whole (so not just insurers and brokers, but other suppliers such as loss adjusters and solicitors, to name but a few). Some companies had to turn their business models on their head overnight, others rethought processes from the customer perspective to be able to withstand the volumes of claims and provide the expected service levels. 

It is my belief that never has insurance and claims been so high profile as it has been over the last year as many desperate policyholders, many of these SMEs, looked towards us for support at a time of huge uncertainty. 

If we look to the Supreme Court judgement, what stands out for me is the desire to reach a conclusion as soon as possible for our policyholders—the process many of us participated in led to that clarity. We were never going to be the rescuers of the national economy but we were able to get to a conclusion and deliver on our obligations and remain sustainable. 

What was also evident from the submissions was the push for digitalisation, which was anticipated in the last year but really came through over the last 12 months—our customers and employee expectations have changed. According to Brian Tracy, “excellence is not a destination, it’s a continuous journey that never ends”, and that is what we saw from the hundreds of submissions. 

When considering the award submissions, we looked for those organisations that hadn’t focused on business as usual but who had really excelled in delivering a better customer experience or who had changed the industry through their actions, despite the Covid backdrop against which we were and are all operating. The fact that we had so many submissions that met this high criterion is something we should all be proud of. 

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter these important awards, the amazing winners, the judging panel of industry experts and leaders who so meticulously judged the awards—and Claims Media for making them happen and organising us all along the way.