Handling claims: Do you have a counselling service?
The art of claims management is so much more than the processing of a claim payment.
With any illness, injury or severe disease arises a complex situation that can bring with it an array of potentially overwhelming physical, psychological, social, emotional, functional and economic challenges.
Claims management is a whole-person process. Part of that process involves the fundamental components of psychosocial wellbeing and core to the wellbeing of the claimant, where possible, is the return to work of claimants OR at least the assistance with whole-person functioning.
At the start of a claim the adviser and claims consultant play a crucial role. It is at this point where trust and reassurance is required and is built, and critically it is the personal relationship that has the biggest impact to the client experience of a claim. Based on our experience with advisers and claimants, the impact of the personal interaction affects:
- The ability to and the speed at which a claimant is ready to return to work;
- The willingness and awareness to participate in rehabilitation programs;
- The overall demeanour and sense of self of the claimant;
- The success of return to work initiatives;
- In speaking with our claimants, they resoundingly assessed that the most important factor in their claims experience was the relationship with their adviser and their claims consultant.
Loss and grief are fundamental to human life
Life’s most grievous losses disconnect us from our sense of who we are and can set in motion an tough process of not only re-learning ourselves but also the world.
For many the desire to 'make sense' and 'find meaning' in the wake of loss is central.
The specialists at Psychology Melbourne tell us that: "There is no “right way” to grieve, no accepted model and no way of predicting how long the period of grieving will or should last" and, they add:
"In recent decades many people have been troubled by the fact that they did not go through the, “five stages of grief” popularised by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s. Science now accepts that this hypothesis is not supported by fact and that many people experience completely different emotions and in many – perhaps even the majority of cases – react with resilience and no obvious symptoms of grief."
So what is the adviser's role? We believe that in addition to a robust, defined, sequential and well-articulated claims service that risk advisers actually lead their proposition with, that advisers also as part of that claims service need to deal with the issue of grief and loss counselling.
This means the recruiting to the adviser's sphere of influence, professionals who will in concert with the adviser guide claimants through a process where they can reach for the best feeling emotions for them relative to their experience with the loss they are facing.
We have, in a new presentation for 2016, examined every aspect of the claims process and developed an implementable process for making "a claim" an adviser's ultimate value add.
It is the most powerful piece I've worked on (pipping out …only just mind you, the psychology of advice and the psychology of buying insurance: both of which have been refreshed for 2016).
I can't wait for your input and engagement on all three.
Andy Marshall, head of sales strategies life and investments at Zurich
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