Insurance – Compliance & the next generation
1 July 2018
We have been talking around the office on the broad subject of the intergenerational differences of employees of both the underwriting and broking areas of our industry.
People of my generation, like our parents before us, hanker for the “good old days” which is a safe haven for us as we are challenged by technology and compliance.
What does concern me though is that technology is being seen as the solution rather than a tool to assist us with the complexities of insurance. For example there will always be claims that can be managed by non-technical claims people who use a computerised flow-chart to tick off boxes and fast track simple claims. But there is still a need, on the more complex insurance issues and claims for those of us who understand the age old doctrines that insurance is based.
Unless we know why, and understand the doctrines of insurance we become so reliant on automation we cannot debate what the correct technical answer is in the event of a dispute.
Years ago, I investigated what was needed for a paperless office. One solution being offered was a system that needed every piece of paper that came into the office to be scanned into the computer system and all subsequent work was completed on the screen. It seemed to me that we would be figuratively swimming upstream with our work flow and those who had adopted this system soon realised that they were becoming slaves to the machine.
The solution was found at an engineering Expo where we discovered a program that let us work on the paper until the job was concluded and at that point the whole file was scanned and the information stored. Paperless administration was not a practical solution but paperless file storage was.
We are currently redrafting our motor wording. Our challenge is to produce a document that is industry leading in concise and legally defendable language. It will be many pages long when printed but if we insure a risk and make it subject to the policy document, who will read the cover?
This places an onus on the broker to advise the client, but if the broker is not aware of the extent and limitations of the cover, and why certain clauses apply how can the broker professionally advise his/her client.
I have not been an advocate for university degrees, but I am starting to change my mind lately. I am finding brokers and my own staff who have completed a qualification are often more able to understand and learn the nuances of covers. They realise that their service proposition is professional and not just the cheapest premium. They understand value versus price and can intelligently debate the pos and cons of covers.
Maybe we have been guilty of employing people who can physically complete a task but who do not comprehend professionalism. This is a defining issue with our industry and I sincerely hope there are enough of left who still have a passion for insurance so that we can stem the flow of mindless compliance that will soon dominate our marketplace.
Contributing Writer: John Baker (Executive Chairman, Star Insurance Specialists)