Opinion & Analysis
The importance of added value services at claim stage
26 Jul 2022
The test of an Income Protection insurer only really comes when a client picks up the phone to make a claim. It’s a step into the unknown at a point when a client’s health is a major concern and the ability to do their job has ceased for the time being or potentially much longer.
Worries about money and the ability to keep paying the bills, concerns about long term health – “will I get better?” and doubts about whether treatment will be quick and successful all come flooding into focus.
When it comes to claiming on their Income Protection plans, what understanding do clients have of the journey they are starting? Is there awareness of the depth of expertise and help available to them? What do they think they have bought?
Income Protection plans have evolved considerably over the years from simple sick pay arrangements into valuable support tools that are geared to helping people get back to work as soon as possible via rehabilitation interventions as well as supporting customers financially while they recover.
Because Rehabilitation services are included in the cost of these plans, they are often overlooked and easy to gloss over, leading to a gap in advisers and customers understanding of what they have access to and how it could help them recover quicker.
Robert Betts Market Development manager at L&G stresses “We are focussing more on the value of these services to help advisers position the features and benefits and make them resonate with clients and their lives. As an Industry we publish our claims data to help build trust, and demonstrate that as insurers we pay claims, in addition we are increasingly publishing claims stories and testimonials to frame the value of the overall support package that the clients have bought”.
David Banks – Underwriting and Claims Director at Legal and General is keen to set out how insurers continue to improve and evolve the claims process by utilising rehabilitation services to help make the experience as “pain free”, “Positive” and “effective for customers” as possible.
”The philosophy for our claims assessors is to remember that everyone is an individual and it’s not a one size fits all process – We assess multiple claims with similar causes in similar scenarios every year and they all have completely different outcomes”.
“The overriding focus is that the customer experiences the most effective outcome based on their situation, a major part of this is the early intervention of our rehabilitation support.”
“Working with our professional expert partners, from the moment we are notified of a claim, we can tailor individual support to the characteristics of the customers claim, it could be mental health support, physiotherapy or a more holistic form of support. “The aim is to help the client get back to normal or as near as normal health as quickly as possible to enable them to return to work.
One of the first areas we look at, is the specifics of the policy terms and conditions and the claimant’s individual circumstances, this will go beyond just the medical diagnosis.
“We actively look to see what can be done now to help them start the process of getting better and back to work, sometimes it’s just a need for some guidance and signposting, while others require a more focussed set of rehabilitation interventions over a period of time”.
Effective support and ways to assist the process of a return or maybe a stepped or partial return to work is where our assessors identify the need for specific additional treatments and support, our specialist partners may then take over. They assess the current situation including past medical history, presenting symptoms, impact on functional and vocational capacity and psychological wellbeing, which can then lead to face to face and physical therapies and treatments to aid the recovery process.
Key to all of this is keeping the client in an informed position as to how they are being helped and the benefits of the support.
The essential skills of claims assessors are their use of soft skills that enable true rapport and trust with the claimant, this enhances their customer experience and helps them buy into the benefits of the rehabilitation journey.
“By understanding the claims process, the features included in the cover and how they can benefit clients, advisers can really make a difference and help customers understand the value of what they have bought and the real benefits of early intervention”. It makes sense for both the insurer and the clients to manage a claim from first notification of a claim to assist them in their recovery, with the financial support and security of a claim payment.
Find out more about L&G rehab and claims
Robert Betts, Market Development Manager -L&G