Industry Leader Interview with Lynn Cufley, Crawford & Company

1. What are the challenges facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?

We have been handling claims throughout the crisis, with the top priority being to protect the safety of our employees, our clients and their customers. Loss adjusters are essential workers and have been working throughout, so they are the real heroes for Crawford. Some homeowners didn’t want people in their properties and some contractors were unable to finish work due to lockdown so this made claims handling challenging. However, we made every effort to keep in touch with people, help over the phone and offer quick cash settlements to help navigate this difficult period.

During this period, the digital tools we have launched in recent years have come into their own. Usage of YouGoLook, our assisted self-service application which allows customers to make claims via their smartphones, spiked by 800% during lockdown, while video collaboration tools enabling adjusters to engage directly with policyholders in real-time saw a 33% uptick.

We’ve also used this time to invest in training and employee engagement. We have had huge buy-in to our employee engagement app, which has provided daily updates for employees throughout the crisis. We’ve also launched the Crawford Academy, which focuses on developing talent, and have ramped up training in areas including technical, sales, relationship-building and unconscious bias, so there have been a number of positives to come out of these challenging few months.

2. What has been your biggest business learning from the coronavirus pandemic?

The biggest thing I’ve learned from the pandemic is how adaptable we can be. During lockdown, our Crawford Contractor Connection operation boosted its decontamination solution to handle the spike in decontamination claims, increasing its capabilities eight-fold. Our IT department transitioned 100% of UK employees to home working in two weeks – a phenomenal achievement. Meanwhile, adjusters and surveyors have continued to visit sites. One adjuster went as far as to hire a mobile home which he drove to Scotland and lived in while he handled two complex rail claims, which is a great example of how we’ve managed to adapt and find solutions. It’s also been a time of great collaboration, with everyone sharing ideas and being supportive through the crisis.

3. As we go to a “new normal” what are you looking forward to returning to and practices will you keep?

I really like the direction Crawford is heading in and the spirit at the company at the moment, so I’m not sure I want to go back – I want to keep moving forward. There’s been a real sense of camaraderie over the past few months, in addition to a load of new ideas and new ways of doing things, and I hope that all continues.

I would like to get back to the office for meetings, however, it looks like we will continue to live and work the way we are currently doing for a little longer. Client meetings via Zoom and Teams have been really effective, but a lot of our people miss face-to-face engagement. Fortunately, productivity is great at the moment and, according to a recent wellbeing survey, the majority of our employees have no problems with working remotely.

4. If you could go back to the beginning of 2020, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?

Lockdown has given people time to reflect and appreciate what they have. I’ve reconnected with friends, tackled things I’ve talked about doing for many years, got healthier and got to know my neighbours better, so I think if I could go back I’d just tell myself to take more pleasure in the simple things.

5. What would be your prediction for the industry in 2021?

The industry has risen to the challenges of the global pandemic and will continue to forge ahead. We have already proven we have the resilience, expertise and capabilities to continue to serve clients and customers. Claims continue to be handled and we are essentially back to business as usual – we’re just doing things differently.

Going forward, there will be more focus on home networks rather than office networks, and technology will continue to play an increasingly important role at every stage of the claims process. Crawford continues to innovate and be receptive to new ideas, as do insurers and brokers, so next year the industry will see more innovative solutions coming through.

We will also need to prepare for a wave of COVID-19-related claims in 2021. Uncertainty around pandemic coverage under business interruption (BI) policies has become a government-level agenda issue in many countries since the spread of COVID-19 began. It also remains to be seen whether the threshold for breach of duty and actionable injury claims will be widely met, but there will undoubtedly be an uptick in employers’ liability claims in particular.

There will also be a focus on providing value-add services to help clients with a range of issues related to COVID-19, from fraud prevention and due diligence to decontaminating workspaces and helping companies adhere to new workplace regulations and space management requirements. Crawford has developed dedicated offerings in each of these areas this year. I am proud of what everyone at Crawford has achieved to help people over the past few months.

I Love Claims Q&A – Responses by Lynn Cufley, Marketing & Communications Director, International, Crawford & Company


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