Offering extra care to customers with dementia

I love solving problems. It’s a passion that I’m now thankful to be using as we pioneer a whole new approach to helping our most vulnerable customers at Sedgwick.

I began my Sedgwick career with our team in Australia, and then joined the UK business to support the Carlisle flood surge in early 2016. Initially, I believed this would be a temporary career choice before I returned to a career path in nursing, but I soon realised there was a different way I could help people through difficult times. 

My nursing training gave me strong skills in identifying and helping customers who need additional support, including those with dementia. During the Cumbria flood claim surge, I met an elderly customer whose level of confusion would vary from day to day. Her family were not local and could only visit occasionally, but she was adamant that she wanted to remain in her home for the duration of the work we were doing to resolve her claim.

We were able to make the customer comfortable living on the first floor of her property, as the damage was mainly to the ground floor. We had a door installed on the stairs so she had full privacy and this enabled her to remain at home. The customer would forget when the builders had attended and call us, very distressed at thinking she had been forgotten. So I made her a giant wall calendar detailing the dates the contractor would be onsite and other key dates, and the contractors marked up when they had attended.

The customer also struggled with selecting material choices, so I took her to a DIY store to meet the contract manager and they spent the afternoon looking at samples and making choices. I also put up sheets of paper on the house walls to represent each room being worked on and added images of the materials used to help the customer remember her choices for added reassurance. I also made regular site visits to ensure everything was going to plan and helped with any of the customer’s concerns.

In another situation, our customer’s dementia had progressed quite severely, so I focused on liaising with the lady’s daughter who lived hundreds of miles away. The daughter had her mother move in with her and was under a lot of pressure juggling many demands on her time. I visited the site fortnightly to take photos to send to the customer’s daughter and liaise with the contractors on any queries. This eased a lot of the daughter’s concerns, despite being the other end of the country, and I dialled her in for the sign-off meeting to make sure she was fully involved.

My role has since developed to supporting our London and South East adjusting team in cases like these. If attending the initial visit, I might sit and have a cup of tea and a chat with a customer while the adjuster and surveyor are measuring up and discussing the most appropriate method of reinstatement. Where necessary, I will take on the role as the single point of contact so that the customer only has to speak to one person at Sedgwick. This allows our adjusting teams to concentrate on the technical and procedural issues within the claim, while I ensure we take care of the customer’s specific needs. Insurers are now, at times, requesting these added care steps at the time of instruction. They see the value for their customers and themselves.

The success of our groundbreaking work for customers struggling with dementia is evident. Sedgwick is looking to expand the service and our aim is to have a customer care manager in every region available for every claim where it’s needed. We have advertised roles and are in the process of recruiting in those areas where we don’t yet have one. I’m very thankful to be part of a company like Sedgwick, where our caring counts® philosophy is evident not just in our average daily work, but especially in situations like these, where we are given the chance to fulfill a need and adapt our services to do what’s right for the people depending on us.

Caring for those with dementia and working toward a cure is a cause we all can support. Earlier this year, Sedgwick’s UK team joined Insurance United Against Dementia, an industry partnership with the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society, to raise funds and increase awareness and support for people affected by all forms of dementia. This week (20-26 May), our colleagues across the United Kingdom are participating in Dementia Action Week to raise funds and launch important societal conversations about the 21st century’s biggest killer. The Alzheimer’s Society believes that a world without dementia is within our reach, but until a cure, no one should have to face it alone. Learn more and find ways you can help at www.alzheimers.org.uk, or in the US, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.

Lauren Glover, Customer Care Manager, Sedgwick UK 

Lauren was asked to speak about her work at the annual CILA conference last September. This was a huge honour, especially for someone so new to the industry. Her impressive presentation was a major contributing factor in her winning the Insurance Institute of Southampton’s Young Achiever of the Year on 1 March. Lauren has also been nominated for another accolade as part of the British Claims Awards, which will be announced on 6 June. Good luck Lauren!

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