What does the future hold for building claims repairs

During the initial lockdown period and throughout, there have been three key challenges from a repair network perspective (aside from centralised considerations for business continuity). These were:

  • Ensuring continued delivery of essential services for vulnerable customers on both new and existing claims and managing the increase in customers identifying as vulnerable.
  • Maintaining a clear understanding on the position of network resources and any challenges or concerns in relation to their resource, personal views on working, materials availability and customer visits.
  • Maintaining active communication with customers where progress was going to be put on hold based on government guidelines on non-essential working and travel.

As the pandemic situation and guidance from the government developed, so too did teams and networks across the board.

For our teams, agility and quickly adapting to a new process was absolutely key. Our repair team and regional managers confidently provided support and guidance to the network and to our customers whilst simultaneously navigating changes themselves such as variations in peak call times and using video technology in new ways. Two things have proved crucial to success time and time again as we navigated the pandemic – data and communication.

There has been a saving grace across the industry that during this lockdown period, the weather has been fairly kind to us, and we’ve seen an overall reduction in claim frequency from a domestic claims perspective. We thankfully, went into lockdown in a strong service and WIP position, despite two sizeable weather events immediately preceding the pandemic. As a result, we have been able to allocate additional time on individual claims and diverting resource to assist with additional levels of oversight, communication and data capture.

Agile data capture

On top of the rich data we already had through Synergy Analyse, we were able to layer in additional data capture within our system as the situation developed. This extra information allowed us to better understand every situation and react accordingly. Examples included, additional reasons a claim might be on hold, the position of a contractor, when we plan for a claim to restart, what we need to do to adapt our communication.

We have and continue to monitor the situation with building merchants and materials incredibly closely, UK wide, region by region. Layering this information with the claim and customer details and contractor status has allowed us to make the smartest decisions throughout and flexibly coordinate the claims management. As we have seen a steady increase in claims moving from ‘on hold’ to ‘repair’ in the past few weeks we continue to use the data to service decision making.

Silent data serves nobody

Having access to a rich and agile data set is fantastic but it is what we do with it that really matters and it is the actions and communication we have issued as a result of the data that really allowed us to take control of an uncontrollable situation to the best of our ability. We have seen a high level of customer acceptance to change facilitated by continued clear and honest communication between all parties. But for how long?

The new normal

Some of these new ways of working may be here to stay; virtual survey and validation technology and enhanced reliance on ordering stock online and click and collect services are two examples. However, we may start to see the current tolerance for slower claims progress to ensure social distancing and conform to government guidelines, begin to wane.  If these guidelines are here to stay, then the expectation to “get the job done” regardless of the challenges around the circumstances of the claim is likely to rise.

As we move slowly out of lockdown and into the ‘new normal’, customers will return to previous expectation levels.

To support this, we need to continue to challenge ourselves on service delivery regardless of the circumstantial barriers:

  • How can we support our network with greater forecast planning on materials, resource and timelines?
  • How can we ensure customer communication and understanding on their claim remains in line with expectations?
  • How can we ensure that we are in a position to offer a full service of technology and field-based claims handling solutions, to support and flex on any future changes and reintroductions to travel, distancing and working rules?

For us, we consider today the new normal, and continue to expect the unexpected. To make sure we’re ready for that, our people, technology, and service offerings need to remain dynamic, flexible, scalable, and ready for change – providing we can retain our position in all these separate channels, we will continue to deliver in line with the commitments we’ve made to our clients and their customer base.

If these guidelines are here to stay, then the expectation to “get the job done” regardless of the challenges around the circumstances of the claim is likely to rise.

Owen Pugh, Director of Network Services and TPA, Claims Consortium Group


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