Insurance companies more than ever are becoming more responsive in their approach to the business, as consumer demand for rights and improved service delivery takes higher dimension. This development is not only enhancing awareness about the need for insurance, but also making more people become conscious of risk around them and the need to protect their assets and families as the unexpected.
BusinessDay investigations reveal that some insurers companies that hitherto were reluctant to put certain things in place have embraced high powered technologies that helps keep accurate record of consumers, premium remittances as well as prompt response at time of loss.
Owolabi Salami, executive director, ChrystaLife Insurance said the need for quality record and data management of consumers was not just for customers who have taken up life and investment polices with insurance agents or companies, but also for tens of millions who make regular enquiries about their policies.
Some fast moving insurance companies that have embraced technology to enhance consumer services says there is “significantly” more that insurers could do to improve the efficiency of service delivery.
“Policyholders expect regular updates on their policy status, easy access to information when required and most importantly prompt response at the event of a loss, Salami noted.
Insurance regulator, the National Insurance Commission also has identified the need for improvement in the service of insurance companies to their consumers particularly when it comes to claims.
The Commission through its Complaints Bureau, facilitated the settlement of claims by insurance companies to the tune of N1,220,645,790.09 in the first half of this year. This involved a total number of 52 cases concluded by the Bureau during the period.
In the period under review, the Complaints Bureau dealt with a total number of 349 cases and held four adjudication meetings. Out of this figure, 86 of them were fresh complaints while the remaining (263) are existing/ongoing cases.
The outstanding claims are currently receiving the attention of the Commission, with a view of achieving a quick resolution to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, particularly, members of the insuring public.
The resort to the Bureau for settlement of claims disputes by the insuring public is an indication of the level of awareness of this channel of dispute resolution in the Commission. Insurance companies have been made to accept the fact that it is no longer business as usual as their responses and compliance with the Commission’s directives had witnessed an improvement compared to previous periods.
Consequently, not less than 85 percent of the insurance institutions responded to queries or directives issued to them for claim settlement during the period. Majority of the 15 percent residual are largely claims already before courts of competent jurisdiction and therefore prejudicial for the Commission to intervene.
In 2012, the Commission through its Complaint Bureau settled claims dispute amounting to N1.22 billion involving a total of 52 cases.
The growing figure of claims dispute resolution is an indication that insurance consumers particularly policy holders are becoming more informed about their rights and the need to pursue their claims when denied or delayed by insurances companies.