Breakout Sessions: Property and Casualty (P & C)

George Lyle (VA DOI) co-facilitates the Property/Casualty breakout sessions.
George Lyle (VA DOI) co-facilitates the Property/Casualty breakout sessions.
The ICAE tradition of providing a venue where consumer affairs professionals from companies, state DOIs and industry associations can candidly exchange views has always been one of the most popular segments of any Exchange.  The breakout sessions are noted for “the no points off” atmosphere in which all entities can share candid views.

As with the Life and Health break-out session, the initial session was designed to surface and determine the importance of issues; the second session provided discussion.  An enormous number of topics were thrown out for the group to discuss, but, as a group, three main topics were selected for further discussion. Here’s what was on the group’s agenda:

Topic 1:  Complaint Uniformity
Complaint uniformity is a perennial issue within the insurance sector—proving that both regulators and company representatives care deeply about their professionalism.

As a group, the issue of consistent file requirements was discussed. It was acknowledged by all that most DOIs work hard to ensure consistent treatment for all companies doing business within a state.  And, although companies find the different requirements from state-to-state sometimes difficult to work with, it was noted that only a handful of states required enormously complex files.

In discussing the closing of complaint files, regulators present discussed how the different states handled a closed file and invited corporate representatives to provide input on that process.  Yet again, it was noted the different DOIs handled the process differently—from automatically generating an outbound closed letter to the company, to posting the information online for companies to find.  Through discussion, most companies seemed familiar with what the different DOIs were doing and had adapted systems to handle the information, regardless of how the information is accessed.

Topic 2:  Complaint tracking and trending
The group then focused on complaint tracking and trending.  Many carrier representatives present expressed a desire to know exactly which complaints are cited as confirmed or unconfirmed by the DOIs.  This was especially important to those representatives who work to align the internal complaint data to the DOI complaint data.  This group felt strongly that alignment, prior to a reconciliation process, would help companies identify what is “sliding down the wrong direction” for specific business units and provide time for correction before something gets to be a big problem.

Jennifer Square (Nationwide Insurance) co-facilitates the Property/Casualty breakout sessions.
Jennifer Square (Nationwide Insurance) co-facilitates the Property/Casualty breakout sessions.

Topic 3:  Best Practice reviewed: Using complaints as a training device
This unique notion got significant traction as the professional involved discussed making complaints personal—not just numbers.  One company now uses video, images and recordings to train multiple customer-service professionals—sometimes including producers—by providing them with the exact, personal impact of errors and negative interactions. Many companies have found that, by making the complaint personal, any issue will receive stronger visibility—and better resolution.

Companies and regulators have both discovered that complainants who work with live people feel better about the customer service provided. The regulators present noted that sometimes they work closely with individuals to help them fully understand the insurance product in terms of rate increases and claims processes and acknowledged that stronger personal communication provides better outcomes for consumers. Reflecting the ongoing importance of real communication, regulators present use and endorse the best practice of providing the insured with an actual company contact—good for company, consumer and regulator.

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