Claims Charter brings industry together to make a difficult time easier

24 October 2019



Guest blogger, Alan Knowles, chair of the Protection Distributors Group (PDG) tells us more about the Claims Charter Initiative.

Red arrow lightThe Claims Charter, an initiative that was introduced by the Protection Distributors Group (PDG), aims to improve the claims experience for anyone unfortunate enough to need to make a claim.

The goal is to ensure claimants have the best support; a caring, efficient and hassle-free experience with claims paid as quickly as possible – the Claims Charter was drawn up to outline what is felt should be standard best practice.

For many people it’s not easy to talk about life insurance, because it’s not easy to think about death. It’s also difficult to put a monetary value on a person’s life, but that’s exactly what we do as protection insurance professionals each day. We do this because the whole point of life insurance is to provide a level of financial stability, so that families don’t have to worry about money if they lose a loved one.

We provide life insurance policies to those who have opposed their fear, allowed themselves to think about their own mortality and what might unfold if the worst were to happen. Those who have plucked up the courage to speak to us about their death, those who seek peace of mind and want a plan in place that would let their surviving family members carry on, protected from the financial loss that their passing may have caused.  

That’s why it’s important we remember that our customers are people and make sure that together we deliver on their plan, and that a difficult time is made easier for the families that are left behind.

The Claims Charter

There are six core elements to the Claims Charter, including facilitating telephone-based claims processes, the claimant having a named point of contact with regular updates and quick response times, intermediaries being notified when claims are made to ensure records are updated and potential distress minimised and claimants receiving payment promptly once their claim has been approved. You can find out more about the six core campaign elements on the PDG website .

It’s no small undertaking for a provider to pledge to such a charter, so it’s excellent to have Royal London on board as firm supporters of this initiative. In 2018 alone, they paid over 38,000 claims to customers and their families in their time of need.*

*Source – Royal London UK Protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2018) 

Craig Paterson, Underwriting and Claims Philosophy Manager at Royal London says:“We’ve signed up to the Protection Distributors Group Claims Charter as part of our commitment to provide supportive service for the families of our customers during the event of a claim.

Each claimant now gets a dedicated point of contact - a claims assessor who’ll deal with their claim from beginning to end - giving them the support they need to help them through the whole process.

We’ve also implemented the use of electronic signatures and are in the process of expanding this capability. This’ll help us streamline our claims process to make sure we pay claims as fast as possible.

The PDG’s Claims Charter is a positive initiative for claimants and we’re proud to go above and beyond their expectations because we believe it’s not only the claims we pay, but the difference we make to the lives of our customers every day that’s important.

It’s people who matter – those whose lives have been turned upside down because the worst has happened to them and their families.

Ensuring claimants receive the best possible support is of utmost importance. We applaud the many fantastic initiatives being offered by Royal London to help claimants and their dedication to improving the claims experience. We’re delighted to see Royal London sign up to this and other PDG initiatives and we hope more insurers will follow too. However, regrettably we acknowledge that not every insurer is in a position to pledge their allegiance yet and so we’ll be lobbying to ensure that every insurer meets the standards set out in our charter.

More information

To sign up to the Claims Charter, insurers must meet the six core elements and if they do, the PDG will give their stamp of approval. The PDG is hopeful that several more providers will join Royal London over the next 12 months.

You can find out more about the PDG Claims Charter and other PDG initiatives supported by Royal London on the PDG website.

The PDG was formed in 2016 and has since driven market-wide changes to the industry. The group comprises of distributor firms with an aim to improve the protection market and lobby insurers for better consumer outcomes.

The PDG’s current membership consists of Assured Futures, Cavendish Ware, Cura, Direct Life and Pension Services, Drewberry, Essential Insurance, Future Proof, Highclere, LifeSearch, LightBlue, London & Country, Roxburgh, Sesame Bankhall Group and St James’s Place.

About the author

Alan Knowles

PDG Chair and Managing Director of Cura Financial Services

Alan Knowles is PDG Chair and Managing Director of Cura Financial Services. He joined the insurance industry as a web programmer in 2005 and progressed to be a protection insurance adviser in 2006. Shortly after he became a manager and spent six years managing an insurance intermediary firm. He joined the PDG in June 2018 and has been the Chair since September 2018. In 2012, Alan set up his own intermediary firm and within a year had built Cura, with his wife Kathryn. Alan is known for challenging mindsets within the industry and for pushing boundaries on what insurers define as a risk. He is interested in technology and underwriting, keenly watching to see how these develop and how a human touch can be a part of our industry. Away from work, Alan enjoys spending time with his three young sons, usually in some kind of mass wrestling match. He enjoys running, kickboxing and listening to audiobook biographies, when he gets a chance!

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The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.