ILC ARTICLE

The central function of claims


Covea chief executive officer Adrian Furness used his keynote interview at the ILC Exclusive Motor Claims Conference to champion the role of claims within insurance while also calling on the industry to stop ‘shooting itself in the foot’.

The inaugural ILC Exclusive Motor Claims Conference, took place at London’s Landing FortyTwo in October.

Adrian, who has been at Covea for 26 years and risen through the ranks to CEO, was interviewed during the event by ILC founder and chairman, Chris Ashworth.

Adrian said, “Claims is absolutely at the heart of what insurance does. It’s what the customer is buying. I think sometimes we forget there is a customer at the end of it, and there is a traditional view in the market that a claim is a claim is a claim and everyone in the industry deals with it the same way. But that’s not true and if you want to know how successful you’re going to be, look in your claims department.

“Claims is also important because, actually, we spend all the company’s money. It’s where the service is and it’s where the money is.”

Culture

Adrian believes claims is so central to an insurer’s role that he ensures every senior appointment at Covea spends a day in the department to better understand its integral role. But this focus on understanding each other’s challenges to better work together is nothing new for him. Cooperation, communication and empowerment have been central themes for Adrian ever since he entered the industry with Endsleigh Insurance.

He said, “They had this amazing culture at the time that was all about recruiting young people, empowering them, and enjoying what you do. They wanted to present insurance as something other than a male, pale, stale industry, and that has really stayed with me.”

Culture is also one of the key reasons he has such a connection with Covea.

He said, “We are a community, not just a business. We have gone through so many changes but we have always kept that thread of creating opportunities for people. We have a desire and commitment to create careers for people; one of my directors started as a graduate and worked up, someone else joined us as 18 and is now our customer director. Working with these people keeps you fresh.”

Adrian now regards restoring that culture as one of his key post-pandemic challenges, suggesting that while remote working has its benefits there are also drawbacks in terms of personal connections, learning from colleagues and leadership identification.

He said, “The real reason we want people in the office is about connection. We recruited more than 300 people during the pandemic and hadn’t met them until a few weeks ago.”

Good practice

But while he is focused on culture within his own company, he is equally concerned about the culture of the wider industry. He argues that too many businesses are driven by short-term gains to the long-term detriment of the sector.

He said, “I’m proud of our industry, but we invariably shoot ourselves in the foot. It astounds me that we do some of the things we do. We see it as gaining a competitive advantage, but actually it’s a race to the bottom. The customer doesn’t benefit, we don’t benefit, and the supply chain doesn’t benefit. Somehow we need take the inefficiencies that don’t add competitive advantage out of the process.”

The inaugural ILC Exclusive Motor Claims Conference was supported by headline sponsor Enterprise Rent-a-Car; sponsors eBay, Solera Audatex and Synetiq; as well as corporate partners AkzoNobel, Autoglass, CAPS, Carpenters Group, Copart, Davies Group, e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management, Entegral, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, GT Motive, Hills Green Parts Specialists, IAA, Innovation Group, S&G Response, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, ThingCo and Verisk.

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