I recently received an email from an agent asking about how his agency can do a better job of following up on claims. He was involved in a car accident and, in his opinion, Geico and Progressive handled it better than his own carrier. He wanted to know what systems were available to him as an agent to be able to communicate better and follow up regarding a claim. My answer…
An insurance policy is simply a promise to our clients to “make them whole” and get them back to the same place they were prior to an accident. A claim situation allows us to deliver on that promise when a claim occurs. Geico and Progressive understand that a key part of “good service” during a claim is communication. There are several activities any agency can create and build into a process that will help clients have a great claims experience—as well as others involved in the accident. Here are a few ideas:
Create a “how to file a claim” page on your website, and make sure the link is prominently displayed on your home page. You want to make it as easy as possible for people who have just had an accident to find your guide on the next steps they need to take. This information should include a listing of all the insurance companies you represent and their claims contact information. This information should include their 800-number as well as the direct website link for submitting a client online.
An increasing number of agencies are developing their own branded iOS (Apple) and Android mobile applications. The insurance company contact information included on your website should also be included within this app. You can also include a checklist of next steps so your client knows exactly what they need to do next.
As soon as agency personnel learn that a claim has been reported—either because the client called the agency directly or you received notification from the insurance company—you should mail your client your “claims kit.” This can be as simple as a brochure that includes a section for writing down the claim number, adjuster information, and “what to expect next” information.
Creating a follow-up system that allows you to stay in touch with your client during the claims process is key to a satisfied client. Too many agents take the initial claim and then never follow up with the client to help them through the claims process. Following is an example of a follow-up process:
- Claim kit mailed the same day claim is reported.
- Phone call (or email) one day later to touch base with the client to see if they have any questions.
- Email two days later to make sure they have been contacted by the insurance company adjuster. Ask them to call the agency if they have any problems or questions.
- Five days later, staff checks with the insurance company to determine the status of the claim.
- Once the claim is completed and closed, follow up with your client—either by phone or email—to make sure the claim has been settled to their satisfaction.
The key to making this actually happen for each and every claim is to create a process supported by a system. There are a number of options for systems that will help support this process. Some include:
- The most basic system might well be a simple written checklist template that details the steps the assigned staff person will take for each claim. They then check off each step after it has been completed.
- Your existing agency management system may have the capability to allow you to create a sequence of steps that are automatically completed.
- There are a number of email management systems that do allow you to create sequential emails that are processed on the specific time-frame you establish. A few of the more popular include: AWeber, Constant Contact, iContact, and Emma.
The key to delivering superior customer service during the claims process is communication. Creating a system to manage the communications steps allows the agency to deliver a consistent—and positive—customer experience.