June 2012 Editorial
A couple of weeks ago, my spouse was involved in a minor collision when our car was rear-ended while she was stopped in rush-hour traffic. She called me at the office about 20 minutes after it happened, and thus my first real interaction with the insurance industry commenced. Fortunately, she was not seriously hurt (she did need physiotherapy), while the car, though the damage appeared minimal, needed bodywork that took a week to complete.
Like most people in this situation for the first time, I was unsure about what to do and who to call first. My broker’s website led me to the claims hotline for my insurer (all shall remain nameless), and we were impressed with the timeliness of the insurer’s immediate response. They assigned an adjuster to the claim and appointments with a body shop, a car rental outlet and a medical assessment clinic were made in short order.
Notwithstanding how smoothly the situation was dealt with by our insurer, we were nevertheless left with a number of questions about how we should have reacted. There was a lack of consistency in the information, advice and direction we received from all interested parties. Did we even need to go to a collision reporting centre if we weren’t going to claim the damage? Should my spouse have called the police at the scene of the accident because she was injured? Would the physiotherapy be covered by her employer’s benefits plan or our car insurance? What would happen to our rates at renewal? Everyone involved—from different operators at the insurance company to the police officer at the reporting centre—had different answers and it was hard to know whose opinion was more authoritative or was acting for our interests.
Our claim was minor and not traumatic. I mention it only to make the point that this experience underlined for me the value of having a steady guiding hand who can act as an advocate for insureds when they really need it, and the opportunity for brokers to fill that role. Clients need to know that there is someone stickhandling their situation who can be a single point of contact and has their interests at heart. Our cover story on the claims team led by Sacha Carey at Renfrew Insurance in Calgary is an excellent example. Reacting to near-Biblical situations such as punishing hail storms and car-swallowing sinkholes, Carey is setting a standard for broker responsiveness.
Copyright 2012 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2012 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.