CII reflects on the first year of the Society of Claims Professionals
As the Society of Claims Professionals (SOCP) approaches its first birthday, we reflect on the progress made so far, and our plans for the future.
Launched in January 2019 as a key component in delivering the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) strategic manifesto, the SOCP is a professional community serving the needs of the insurance claims sector. Previously known as the Claims Faculty, the new Society is a step change in the way we provide value to our members, supporting them at every stage of their career. This is all aligned with the broader objectives of the CII – to encourage the highest professional standards, promote increased public trust in our industry, and secure the best outcomes for our customers and clients. Representing almost 10,000 individuals, the Society is a forum for learning, guidance, insight, and ideas. An experienced Advisory Board of senior market practitioners helps ensure the content we provide to our members is relevant and practical.
Good Practice Guidance sits at the heart of what we do for our members. These written guides provide a concise and accessible summary of a topic or issue in the market, and concludes with recommendations that members can implement to improve internal processes and customer outcomes. Our work in 2019 considered a number of technical issues, including subsidence, escape of water, and disputed claims. In addition, we looked at some of the broader business issues affecting the sector: GDPR, the Senior Management & Certification Regime, and the regulation of Claims Management Companies.
Perhaps of most note is the considerable body of work we have produced on customer vulnerability. With the results of the FCA’s consultation on the issues due in early 2020, and its critical relevance to how the sector is perceived by the public - we know this an issue that is only likely to increase in importance. The claims sector is often judged on how we treat our most vulnerable customers, and it is vital we are able to identify vulnerability in its many different forms, offering the appropriate support and assistance to those in need. As well as broad guidance on the basic principles of fair treatment of vulnerable customers, we have also produced content on more specific issues – for example our Dementia-friendly guide for insurers, written in association with Alzheimer’s Society.
Closely allied to this is our work on how we treat and support those within the industry who have particular needs. The corporate environment can often be a challenging and stressful place, and like many professions, we must strive to do more to provide an inclusive and supportive environment. The SOCP has approached these challenges from a number of different angles over the last 12 months – including considering how we achieve inclusive workplaces for disabled people, how we deal with stress at work, and how to identify and sensitively deal with mental health issues amongst our colleagues and peers.
Our Good Practice Guidance is augmented with the selection of digital content we produce for our members. We know the way individuals consume content has and is changing, and we have placed great emphasis on ensuring we provide learning in different formats. April 2019 saw the launch of the new-look SOCP website, with an emphasis on simplicity, optimising the user-journey, and mobile accessibility. Members can now choose from webinars, podcasts, video guides and lectures – giving them the opportunity to learn when, where, and how they wish.
The SOCP has also delivered a comprehensive programme of stakeholder engagement, including bilateral meetings and roundtables with relevant regulators, trade bodies, and professional associations. Through this programme, we are able to amplify the key messages from the Society, as well as identify cross-cutting issues and opportunities for future collaboration. This initiative will form a key component of our strategy to go beyond our membership in 2020, as we look to effect positive change in the insurance claims sector.
The New Generation Claims programme has continued its record of producing high quality research and insight. 2019 saw the publication of the Riots Claims Guide. Supported by the Home Office, the Met Police, and the Association of British Insurers, this landmark guide sets out core procedures and technical guidance for handling compensation claims against local policing bodies for riots damage.
As we begin the new year, we will continue to expand the output of the Society. Our work on customer vulnerability will continue to grow, and we look forward to taking the high-level guidance of the FCA’s consultation and helping our members translate this to good culture and behaviour in their organisations.
We will also do more to address some of the negative perceptions of claims that some members of the public have. Research shows that those who have made a claim tend to have a more positive view of the claims function than those who do not, which suggests a disconnect between expectation and reality. We must highlight examples of good practice in the sector, but also ensure that we are calling out bad practice wherever we see it.
In addition, our members and the claims sector will face a host of broader issues. From rapidly changing customer expectations and the ever-increasing impact of technology and automation, through to continuing political instability and the hardening market, we will make sure our members are provided with the insight and guidance they need to navigate a challenging business environment.
Sue McCall, Chair of the SOCP Advisory Board, said: “I was previously involved in the work of the Claims Faculty and it has been exciting to see the renewed importance and impetus the CII has given to the new Society – it recognises the critical importance of the claims sector to the insurance profession. From a public trust point of view, claims is one of the most customer-facing sectors of the insurance industry, and by its very nature we are often dealing with customers who are in need of support and guidance. If we can get this right, we could really shift the way our industry is perceived in wider society. I look forward to working with the board to address the key issues facing our sector in 2020 and beyond.”
Matthew Hall, Strategy & Operations Manager of the CII, said: “We often say that insurance is a promise to put things right when they go wrong, and so claims must be the proof of the promise. It has been a pleasure to work with the Advisory Board on the launch of the SOCP, and very encouraging to see the progress we have made in such a short time. In 2019, we focused on providing solid foundations for future success. I am looking forward to working hard to continue to provide a relevant, engaging and modern membership experience to the claims sector as we move into 2020. The Society offers so many opportunities to make positive changes, whether this is through promoting high professional standards, or working to secure greater public trust.”
Authored by CII
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the leading professional body for the global financial services profession, exists to promote higher standards of integrity, technical competence and business capability. With over 115,000 members in more than 150 countries, the CII is the world's largest professional body dedicated to insurance and financial services.
Our membership covers all disciplines within the insurance industry (claims, broking, underwriting), those working in the life and pensions sector, the mortgage advice market and financial advisers (under the Personal Finance Society brand).
Our Royal Charter requires us "to secure and justify the confidence of the public" in our members and in the insurance and financial services sector.
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