Jim Lynch, Head of Claims at AIG Ireland discusses how we are bringing claims to the forefront of our business to ensure the best possible experience for both our brokers and clients.
At AIG, we pride ourselves on our innovation, new products and enhanced product wordings. We make promises. We’re measured by how well we keep those promises. Innovation and technology are essential. We must embrace disruption and stay ahead of digital challenges. But what counts most is how we perform when things go wrong. To be a genuine partner for our clients, we have to deliver on our promises.
Both clients and brokers are always interested in the latest solution that will save them time and money. But what they really want to know is whether we will deal with their claim swiftly and professionally. Will we give them certainty that the policy will respond? Will we pay promptly? Will we deal with the incident empathetically? Do we have experienced claims handlers who will know the best steps to take? Are we a reliable partner? Do we have their backs? And in some cases, this means defending the claim and sticking by our insured. In 2017 alone, AIG Ireland paid out almost €150million in claims and AIG General Insurance globally paid out over $21billion.
We pride ourselves in being there for our policyholder when an incident occurs. We are a fair insurer and we pay claims rather than trying to avoid them. Our experienced claims team provide a first class claims service and we partner with the best technical experts in the business to ensure prompt conclusion of claims. Whether it’s a property claim, where we promise to pay 50% of agreed damages within 7 days to keep the business moving forward, a multijurisdictional financial lines claim,a USA products liability loss or a motor damage claim, we have the expertise to handle such losses globally with a local claims contact in Ireland.
If we are to stay relevant to our clients it will be through insightful use of claims data. By accessing this rich seam we can analyse accidents and events using technology, not only to assess a loss but also to predict where new losses might occur and therefore be avoided.
We’re putting claims teams alongside their underwriting colleagues as our claims specialists attend client and broker meetings. We are hoping to fully capitalise on this expertise and continue to put claims at the forefront of our business.
By bringing claims into the heart of what we do and capitalising on the wealth of knowledge that our claims teams have from dealing with losses - from simple to complex - we can partner with our clients to help them understand better the risks they might face, how their policy will stand up, and crucially, how to mitigate or avoid the loss in the first place.
Claims experts can hold workshops to help risk managers scenario-plan for various types of crises. This helps them understand how different types of insurance products would perform in such a crisis and also helps them prepare better to mitigate the impact of a crisis. Claims experts also partner with our clients to help them before a loss, as well as after.
Our business is about people and promises. Yes, it’s important that we can use drones to assess damage in hard-to-reach locations. Yes, it’s important that we can take dashcam footage straight from the Cloud to assess a claim instantly. But what’s most impactful for our clients is the human response. The phone call that our claims handler makes after a loss has occurred, the adjuster that’s onsite at a store in the immediate aftermath of a flood to accept liability and ensure that work to restore business can start immediately.
Amid all the noise, its claims that is the beating heart of any insurance company.
In recent years, AIG has paid over €100million in financial lines claims in Ireland. These claims can be complex and multijurisdictional. An example of a recent case involving Irish directors where AIG paid €2million costs related to a securities class action in the US in the district of New Jersey. The Insured company was an Irish pharmaceutical company and it was alleged that during a specified period, the company made materially false and misleading statements and did not disclose material adverse information to the US Food and Drug Administration. The allegation resulted in hundreds of millions of losses to shareholders. After numerous hearings in the US courts and motions to dismiss, the case was successfully defended. Our Dublin AIG claims Major Loss Adjuster, Keira-Eva Mooney worked with The Global Claims team, including the US Directors & Officers group to support the Insured and monitor the strategy in defending the claim.
We were delighted with the positive feedback from both the broker and client in this case. The broker commented “the level of communication between the client and AIG I feel was at the best possible level and created an air of confidence and trust that is the ideal in handling sensitive Directors & Officers claims. The strength in having both the claim handling and the ongoing underwriting in the one office plus the periodic face to face meetings left the process seamless and the relationship very positive. I would like to put on record our appreciation of AIG overall approach from Day 1 with early direct engagement with the least fuss and the flexibility given to the client selecting their legal defence, which proved very beneficial. We work with AIG as a preferred carrier for the flexibility in approach to underwriting , their positive direct engagement and particularly their approach to claims is often quoted by Declan O’Rourke ‘’we seek to meet claims where possible rather than seek to avoid”. Isn’t this the real bottom line!” – Aon
In a recent claim, the plaintiff’s case was built around allegations that she was caused to slip on a wet floor inside the foyer of an insured hotel. She claimed that it was raining. She claimed she suffered a soft tissue injury to her knee, as well as exacerbating some significant pre-existing back injuries. With the support of our client and broker, we denied liability and did not engage in talks. Our defense was delivered with the argument that she tripped on the edge of the carpet in the foyer, as opposed to a slip on the tiled floor. We had CCTV footage which didn’t capture the fall entirely but showed that there was a kink in the carpet immediately after the fall. We were able to show that over 40 people passed the area before and afterwards without slipping. We had five witnesses who were prepared to say that it was a dry day and the CCTV showed that the people going in/out of the hotel were not dressed for wet weather or carrying umbrellas. We were also able to show that the chances of there being a liquid on the floor were very low. Our accident report form stated that the plaintiff admitted that she tripped on the carpet and there was no mention of a wet floor. Our insured did not have cleaning records but the Judge was satisfied that the fall was a trip, not a slip. He dismissed the case and awarded costs against the plaintiff. Our insured was delighted with the outcome.
On the evening of Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, Fire and Emergency Services from Galway and Mayo were called to the well-established McHale Machinery Plant in Ballinrobe. Explosions could be heard from the location and thick plumes of black smoke could be seen from Shrule, some 20km south of the Mayo town. The local and regional emergency services acted quickly and thankfully there were no casualties on the night. The factory, however, suffered extensive structural and aesthetic damage with the potential for long-lasting disruption and loss of income to the McHale agricultural machinery business.
Thanks to the effective claims service of AIG Ireland, the potential loss to the McHale business was minimised and reimbursed within just one week. After just four working days, AIG Property & Specialty Risks Manager, Cahir Doherty and AIG’s Senior Property Claims Adjuster, Jane Sandall were on site with local broker, Michael McLaughlin of Future Insurance Services Ltd. An immediate significant payment was made to McHale to ensure that all in this thriving family business could get to work immediately.
Brian Moran, General Manager of McHale commented; “this fire was a serious incident for McHale, with the potential to completely disrupt the business for months. We would like to extend a sincere thanks to AIG Ireland whose swift and flexible response ensured we were back on our feet in no time at all”.
For more information, please contact your insurance broker.