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Short term Insurance
Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Taking out the sting

Mutual & Federal says claims are what insurance is all about, and clearly sees its competitive position in this light. As one of its big billboards currently reads: ‘To see how good your insurance is – claim.’

Keith Kennedy, Executive General Manager for Claims at Mutual & Federal says his is the only insurer with a decentralised claims service. “All 47 of our branches country-wide have a dedicated claims staff. We believe policyholders can be assured of quick and immediate service.” He says there are also technical experts at head office to assist branches where necessary.
Another important part of M&F’s claims process is that the insurer has its own in-house motor engineers, assessors, investigators and legal experts, saving time and costs where otherwise these specialised functions would have to be outsourced. “Only the large complex claims are handled by the professional loss adjusters,” he says.
M&F has also developed its enormous buying power so it can offer policyholders the best possible deals and service. “For every R1 a policyholder pays towards his or her monthly premium, 60% to 70% is spent on claims,” advises Mr Kennedy. In other words, policyholders “get up to 70% of their money back. We pay out about R6 billion on some 450 000 claims per year, which translates into about R18 million per working day.
“The significance of this,” says Mr Kennedy, “is that the bigger you are the more you buy, and the more you buy the better the price and service you can command.”
The company says it also has a system in place to assist branches in times of crisis. For example, should there be severe flooding in a specific region; the branch concerned will be given all the necessary backup and support to ensure that normal services are not disrupted. “We also have our Fast Track service, which is aimed at the simpler claims. This has been operational for five years and has proved very successful,” he notes.
Fast Track settles most claims within 48 hours, with no need for quotations or unnecessary paperwork. Having said this, however, Mr Kennedy urges policyholders to keep proof of their purchases to eliminate any uncertainty or delay in the event of a claim.
Suffering a loss is never pleasant and Mr Kennedy urges policyholders not to worsen the experience by trying to submit a fraudulent or exaggerated claim. “If you have suffered a loss, contact your insurer as soon as possible, state exactly what happened and never embellish,” he says. “Some policyholders even exaggerate or lie to make their story sound more realistic. Always be honest, and never allow anyone to sign anything on your behalf.”
There are those policyholders who believe they need to get ‘something’ back from their insurer because they’ve been paying for all these years, says Mr Kennedy. However, it’s better rather to pay and never suffer a loss. Better to see your insurance as buying peace of mind.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:18.1 1st February, 2005
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