Last month I celebrated my birthday in Geneva. While turning 30 in Switzerland, my home in Scotland was robbed.
The intruder broke in via my terrace door. He stole my PlayStation 4, 13 video games, iPad, sound dock, iPod Touch, my camera bag, which had a Canon 5D MK II in it, two flash guns, 7 CF cards and a 28mm lens. Yes, a lot.
If anybody was going to have insurance, it was me!
Working in insurance yet being on the consumer end has been an interesting experience. Going through the claims process, I made observations I can apply to my own insurance business.
An Easy Way To Know What You Own
Problem: Not having proof of purchase, knowing when you bought items, their value and the specific model. This can slow down the claims process.
When I made my claim, I was aware I didn’t have proof of purchase for a number of items and figured this could give my insurer an easy out. “We’re not paying for that item. You can’t prove you even owned it.”
I tried to provide evidence where possible. I have a freakishly good memory of dates. This came in handy for remembering when I bought items. I was able to search my bank statements and locate specific purchases.
If you’re with a good insurer, they’ll understand you haven’t kept a receipt for Wolfenstein: The New Order that you bought 3 years ago. A good insurer will honour the claim.
This is (one reason) why you shouldn’t choose the cheapest provider. Most people don’t trust their insurer, but I’d guess a majority of those bought the cheapest cover and got burnt. Not all insurance policies are created equal.
I digress. Relying on your memory for dates of purchase, what model you own and its worth won’t always cut it. It will also slow down the claims process.
Solution: An app for customers to itemise their contents. If ever they were to make a claim, they could easily select which items had been stolen or damaged without digging up receipts or product information.
This does pose another problem. Who can be bothered taking the time to file their contents? An incentive could be offered by the insurer for doing so, whether it’s cashback or a reward.
Digital Update On The Progress Of Your Claim
Problem: The process of making a claim is archaic. Phone a call centre, wait in a queue. Lame. I can quote and buy my insurance online, but that’s where the digital experience ends.
My insurer paid out for all of my stolen contents. One advisor even investigated the payout for my video games, thinking their colleague had wrongly price matched them against second-hand games. This is from an industry that’s associated with doing anything to get out of helping their customers.
Where it fell short, however, was the lack of communication. If I wasn’t chasing them up I had no indication as to what stage my claim was at. When your house has been burgled and your valuables have been taken, you want to know when you’re going to get your stuff back.
I come from a generation who hate speaking on the phone, so liasing with a call centre every few days was a nuisance.
What I really wanted was the ability to login to a dashboard and see what stage my claim was at.
- “We’ve received your claim”
- “We’ve appointed an electrical specialist”
- “Your electrical specialist is price checking your contents”
- “Your claim has been processed. We’re sending you a cash settlement of £3000”.
That kind of thing.
Solution: A dashboard for customers to login and have an overview of the status of their claim. I understand the phone can’t be avoided completely, but it’s uneccesary and time consuming for small updates as to what point you’re at with the claims process.
I had a pleasing experience with my insurer, yet I couldn’t help but make these observations. I’d love to apply my experience to Jack in the future. At least this robbery would have had something positive come from it.
If you’re buying contents insurance these are some things to be aware of:
- Make sure you have new for old cover. This means if your 10 year-old dSLR gets stolen, the insurer will replace it with the current model.
- Inform your insurer of any high value items. If your £3000 TV is damaged, your insurer may not pay out because it’s a high value item you didn’t disclose. The more honest you are, the better. Don’t leave stuff out so your premium is cheaper.
- Your work equipment won’t be insured under your home insurance, so ensure you have business insurance for your contents. According to Gartner, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds! Coincendentally, Jack just rolled out the ability to insure your business contents.
- I wrote a about my burglary from a business perspective on Jack’s blog. If your work equipment is stolen, can you still function as a business? What about back-ups? These were the questions I had to address when it happened to me.