One year ago, we launched our loss adjusting service offering in Germany based on our understanding of gaps in the market. Over the past 12 months, we’ve had the opportunity to take excellent care of clients and their policyholders across Germany during challenging times; in the process, we’ve gained a more nuanced perspective on what it is today’s insurers are really looking for. Here, I will highlight some of the lessons learned during our first year of operations as a loss adjusting services provider for the German market.
Quality solutions across the spectrum
In Germany, the claims market is divided between three strata, based on claim value and complexity:
- Third party administration: simple/low-value claims, many of which are handled from the desk
- Loss adjusting: mid-range claims (up to €55,000 in value)
- Major and complex losses: large-scale disasters, damage to high-value or specialised property and the like
Although most German insurers cover all three categories of losses (particularly for residential property claims), many of the service providers supporting insurers specialise in only one. Increasingly, insurers are looking for partners with the expertise, capacity and technical know-how to handle the full spectrum of losses — all while delivering top-notch customer experiences. Working with a single provider across all categories offers insurers multiple benefits: fewer points of contact, fewer system interfaces, service consistency and continuity, and greater integration of management information (MI) and data.
Availability of experienced professionals
Like many parts of the world, the German insurance community is facing a serious talent shortage. The sector’s most seasoned professionals are retiring, leaving behind a gap in technical expertise. There also aren’t enough young people pursuing careers in insurance to fill the void today and for the foreseeable future. Insurers are struggling to meet the demand for loss adjusting services — not just during unexpected surges, but even amid day-to-day claim volumes.
As a result, a lot of German insurers are considering outsourced solutions to supplement their in-house resources. This option is especially popular during surge periods, like the aftermath of severe weather and other catastrophic events. Providers with broad geographic networks that offer nationwide coverage and can dependably deploy knowledgeable, certified adjusters when needed are considered the most valuable. Insurers want adjusting partners whose claims-handling practices meet their own high standards, so the outsourced solutions can operate as true extensions of their brands.
In a two-pronged effort to build skill capacity and attract and retain independent adjusting talent in a very competitive market, Sedgwick offers network members a range of free training and development opportunities through Sedgwick University. This also demonstrates to clients that we are highly committed to a high level of quality and are willing to go above and beyond for them and our network professionals.
With experienced talent at a premium, the insurance industry is increasingly looking to innovative technologies to create efficiencies, facilitate real-time information sharing, automate routine processes, and support homeowners and policyholders throughout the claims journey. In many cases, insurers are turning to service providers with robust technology offerings to bolster theirs, rather than investing in the development of their own platforms.
In the interest of both efficiency and environmental sustainability, insurers are using technology systems and on-site mobile device access to implement more paperless processes as part of their claims handling. Additionally, many are exploring remote claims settlement options that utilise live video inspections of policyholders’ property via their cellphones. Eliminating the need for adjusters to make site visits on less complex losses reduces the carbon footprint of claims while allowing these in-demand professionals to tackle more volume in less time. Another area of focus for insurers in the realm of technology is the use of claims systems to control and monitor service levels to ensure customer satisfaction.
As we celebrate the milestone of 12 months serving the loss adjusting market in Germany, we hope it’s the first year of many in which we have the chance to support insurers, real estate managers, homeowners and business proprietors in their time of need following a loss event. If our talented team in Germany can be of assistance to your claims program, please email us at [email protected].