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Insurance survey finds fewer mistakes on documents

Danny Cooper of The Insurance Manager, Faversham
Danny Cooper of The Insurance Manager, Faversham

The number of errors found in insurance documents has fallen but the champagne is still on ice.

The Insurance Manager, based in Throwley, near Faversham, has examined huge numbers for the past seven years for its Annual Insurance Standards Survey. The latest has found signs of improvement.

The error rate has fallen from 64% in 2007 to 23% in 2013, but the firm says it still loses the equivalent of 1.5 days a week to insurance industry inefficiency. Document errors can affect future potential claims.

Danny Cooper, managing director, said: “The good news is standards are apparently improving. They’re still not great given insurance is supposed to be a service industry but the signs are promising.

"We have the lowest error rate and the lowest inefficiency levels recorded since the surveys started seven years ago.

"There is now only a one in four chance that your policy document will be wrong compared to one in three for many years. Brokers and insurers seem to be getting a little more efficient as we now only lose 1.5 days a week to industry inefficiency compared to two last year.”

Mr Cooper added that “the champagne is still on ice for the moment.” For example, the latest survey had found 24 errors on a single motor trade policy, and the corrected version contained a further five. Brokers with chartered status were no better than those without, the survey found.

The company checks technical standards and risk knowledge as well as the ability of the insurer and broker to produce a correct policy document. It also examines the quality and efficiency of the service and how much time is lost to missed deadlines, broken promises and correcting errors, as measured in time spent on calls, letters and emails.

Worryingly, insurance companies are increasingly using “the policy says” defence and will not accept any blame for errors, Mr Cooper said. “It’s also unlikely that the broker will admit to any culpability – he did say to check it in case he’d missed something. Even if we’re only a little bit right, there’s a massive time bomb sitting in the desks of the country’s financial directors.”

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