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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans to create a service that will direct consumers with pre-existing medical conditions to specialist travel insurance providers.

The FCA will work directly with providers to better signpost the market, following last year’s call for input on the topic revealing a lack of information about, understanding of and clarity around specialist travel insurance.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “People with pre-existing medical conditions feel poorly served by travel insurance. There are specialist services out there, but, often, people don’t know where to find them. We’ll work with industry to point people in the right direction and help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings to ensure this market works better.”

“This will also form part of our continuing our work on insurance pricing practices which are designed to lead to long-term positive changes across the market.”

Consumers who have, or have had, pre-existing medical conditions find it difficult to obtain affordable travel insurance because there is a lack of quality information on alternative options when they receive high quotes or are refused cover, according to the FCA.

Firms and consumers are also unsure about insurance terms and the risk factors considered when calculating premiums, partly due to a lack of transparency as to how prices are set.

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The number of travel insurance claims made in 2017 reached 510,000, costing £385 million and amounting to a claim every minute throughout the year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has found.

The 30,000 year-on-year rise in claims between 2016 and 2017 resulted in the highest amount paid since the £455 million Icelandic ash cloud payouts of 2010, and was largely driven by a significant rise in cancellation claims.

After a slight (£2 million) increase, medical expenses made up a majority of the £385 million claims paid, despite an 11% increase in the value of claims for trip cancellations from £130 million to £145 million.

Medical expense continue to be the most expensive type of claim, with an average of nearly £1,300 and many claims climbing to the tens of thousands of pounds.

The ABI said the significant increase in cancellation claims was driven by notable airline disruption, restrictive bad weather at home and abroad, and the cost of the average family holiday increasing by more than £500 in 2017 according to foreign exchange specialist Travelex.

Commenting on the latest statistics, Charlie Campbell, policy adviser for travel at the ABI, said: “Travel insurance acts as your guardian angel when overseas and should be an essential element of your holiday shopping list. Insurers are paying out £1 million every day to cover the unexpected costs of illness, injury or cancellation.”

“Medical expenses can often cost tens of thousands of pounds, whilst the large increase in cancellation claims shows just how important it is to purchase your cover as early as possible. Our question to consumers today is: can you afford to not have travel insurance?”

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Aviva has added dash cam functionality to its Drive app to make it easier for motorists to make a claim.

Users of the Drive app can now use their smartphones as dash cams, regardless of whether they hold an Aviva policy. The functionality adds to the app’s existing ability to track acceleration, cornering and braking.

The Aviva dash cam automatically detects collisions using an undisclosed motion reading from the smartphone sensor data.

Once a potential crash is detected, the dash cam, which otherwise records journeys in short, unsaved loops, pauses filming and saves the clip directly to the app. Users can also manually save footage, with the ability to play recordings back or share them with their insurer via the clips section of the app.

Aviva only has access to dash cam footage if submitted by the user, with no effect on any insurance policy should it be withheld.

“However, dash cam recordings can help support motor insurance claims,” Aviva urged, “by acting as video evidence that can clearly prove who was at fault and help to explain any unexplainable circumstances to their insurer. In some cases, the footage can also support any legal claims and avoid potentially lengthy liability disputes.”

The footage can be submitted to Aviva via email or directly through the Aviva Drive app, without the need for editing.

Blair Turnbull, Aviva’s managing director of digital and retail, commented: “Around 11 million motorists in the UK now use dash cams with the technology becoming more affordable as it becomes more popular. Despite the widespread consensus of the benefits of dash cams however, there are still a number of motorists on the roads driving without one. Our dash cam feature of the Aviva Drive app goes one step further and offers all motorists access to this software for free, without the need for a new, physical gadget.”

“We’re striving to make the claims process as easy and simple as possible and harnessing the power of technology such as dash cams to reduce complexity for consumers. Dash cams can act as an independent witness that is always on, with the video footage often proving vital in settling claims or in explaining any road incidents to police. We know that some things are tricky to explain, but the Aviva Drive app means that motorists can have the peace of mind knowing that if the unexpected should happen when travelling from A to B, it’s been captured on camera.”

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CEGA Special Investigations has begun filming for BBC One’s popular Claimed and Shamed series, as part of its ongoing commitment to reduce travel insurance fraud.

The insurance fraud specialist’s head of technical claims, Simon Cook, and his team will talk through several fraudulent travel insurance claims that were all successfully exposed via tools ranging from investigators on the ground overseas, to cognitive interviewing and sophisticated front-end fraud alerts.

Claimed and Shamed is expected to attract more than a million viewers and will be broadcast later this year.

The filming follows CEGA’s success in the British Claims Awards last month, when its efforts to reduce and increase awareness of insurance fraud won it the 2018 Counter Fraud Award.

Cook commented: “Our long-term participation in Claimed and Shamed is testament to our commitment to offer insurer clients the very best claims validation service: not just detecting, but also proactively preventing fraud, by telling the public that dishonest claims will be found out, wherever they originate in the world.”

“In the last 18 months, we have also extended our global expertise to prevent insurer losses well beyond the travel sector, including the personal accident, household and health sectors. We have successfully identified emerging fraud trends and further invested in training for front-end claims handlers. And we have partnered with Charles Taylor General Adjusting Services to add insurance fraud investigation services to Charles Taylor’s loss adjusting capabilities.”

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Insurance claims teams must adapt if they are to do more than just survive the inevitable impact of technology, according to a new report from PwC.

The report, launched to coincide with the Lloyd’s Market Association’s Future of Claims Forum on 4 July, focuses on how the pace and adoption of new ways of working will affect the insurance workforce of the future, and the types of skills that will make up the teams dealing with customers making claims.

PwC predicts large swathes of future claims will be settled with little or no human involvement, and will instead be driven by automated intelligent technology. The report calls on insurers to focus on the opportunities that this transformational change represents, including better claims handling, removal of low value tasks, and enhanced analytics to continuously improve products and services.

According to PwC, success in this transformation will largely be driven by a need to re-train the people whose current roles are most likely to be affected by technology and sourcing new talent from different areas.

As technology is used to redefine the claims process, PwC expects insurers to increasingly focus on helping their clients prevent losses from happening in the first place. For example, sensors and tracking data will be used on containers and ships to automatically trigger and validate claims payments for lost and/or damaged cargo.

As a result of these developments, PwC expects overall claim numbers to fall, meaning insurers could focus their energy on improving the experience of the customer and developing new services and products. This means companies will increasingly be looking to employ people with customer-centric soft skills, as well as those with expertise in analysing data, who can create tailored, personal offerings for customers.

Jim Bichard, UK insurance leader at PwC, commented: “The insurance industry is alive to the fact that technology will disrupt everything they do and, in some cases, this change is already well underway. The impact will be felt differently by each firm—personal lines will react differently to commercial insurers, reinsurers and brokers—but all sectors need to take action now.”

“Individual companies can’t guard against job losses resulting from automation, but this isn’t just about jobs—it’s about people. Insurers can ensure they remain competitive by investing in re-training and supporting their existing employees to ensure they’re fit for the future workplace.

The report goes into detail on what new business models will mean for the people working in each of the non-life insurance sectors, from the administrators and technicians to the executives right at the top.

PwC states that future claims professionals across all levels of an organisation will have a much broader range of skills, including experience outside the insurance industry—possibly a background in customer relations, or training in data analytics.

Michael Cook, claims advisory leader at PwC, said: “It’s inevitable that adoption of technology will have an impact on claims teams—both on their size and their role in the wider insurance business. This does not mean that the days of human involvement in claims are over—there will always be a role for human expertise and judgement.”

“The future role of a claims professional will largely be driven by the type of claim—simpler settlements will be dealt with through technology, freeing up time for experts to work on more complex claims. New roles will also be created including a customer concierge, new product development such as parametric driven insurance for climate change, and the provision of loss prevention services.”

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Stephen Ranzetta and Paul De Vido have been elected to the Lloyd’s Market Association’s (LMA) personal accident committee.

De Vido, a senior class underwriter in the accident and health team at XL Catlin, and Ranzetta, class underwriter for accident and health at Vibe Syndicate Management, were elected for five-year terms.

Charlie Boyd, senior underwriter at Ark Syndicate Management, will continue in the role of chairman of the LMA’s personal accident committee.

The personal accident committee leads on a range of issues affecting Lloyd’s managing agents and syndicates on behalf of the Lloyd’s market.

Its priorities for the year ahead include: the US Affordable Care Act, a review of personal accident wordings to include cyber risks, conduct risk and concussion injuries.

David Powell, head of non-marine at the LMA, said: “I am pleased to welcome Stephen and Paul to the LMA personal accident committee. Their expertise will be a valuable addition to the number of highly knowledgeable and experienced senior market practitioners who already serve on the committee.”

Ranzetta and De Vido have taken their places on the committee, in addition to their roles at Vibe and XL Catlin respectively, with immediate effect.

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Loss adjuster QuestGates is bringing together all of its third-party property damage services under the QuestGates name, including its 2015 acquisition, TS Adjusting.

Effective 16 July, the TS team will operate as the QuestGates third-party property damage division, reporting to director Stuart Lansdown.

Dan Welsford has been appointed as operations manager and Tom Massarella has been made training and development manager. The team will remain based in Northampton.

QuestGates managing director Chris Hall said of the rebrand: “We have built a powerful, well recognised brand over the past 15 years—and one that has become renowned for its customer focus and service. The team at TS contains highly qualified professionals and they have proven their commitment to our values of providing technical expertise with a personal approach.”

“The process improvements TS have achieved through the application of digital initiatives continue to drive down both claim lifecycles and cost, so we feel it makes sense to fully recognise this by bringing them under the QuestGates brand and creating this new division. In addition the division will migrate to our award winning claims management system, QUBE, which has greatly enhanced MI capabilities and supports remote working which will facilitate better use of merged engineering, surveying and validation resources.”

Earlier this year, QuestGates launched a new service for agricultural claims following the appointment of Frank McGaffney to its team.

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A woman who suffered serious injuries as a result of a car crash that also took her boyfriend’s life has won £3.3 million in compensation.

Zenith Insurance has reportedly agreed to pay £3.3 million to Christina Vibert to settle the case, after failing to convince a judge in the Court of Session in Edinburgh that her injuries, which have left her requiring a wheelchair to travel long distances, were partly the fault of a third party who was racing Vibert’s boyfriend at the time of the crash.

The car, driven by Vibert’s boyfriend, Ross Graham, and insured by Zenith, became trapped beneath the trailer of a lorry after it plunged into a roundabout.

Zenith reportedly argued that Graham had been racing another driver at the time, and the third party’s insurer was liable for some of Vibert’s compensation.

But the Court of Session in Edinburgh found no evidence to support this claim and ruled that the collision was entirely the fault of Graham, who was said to have smoked cannabis before driving, according to the The Scotsman.

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Car insurance premiums have gone into reverse, with drivers seeing price cuts of 5.5% in the past 12 months, according to Consumer Intelligence.

Average bills have dropped to £712, with the price cuts accelerating since bills hit a record high in September 2017 and falling for eight straight months as insurers compete for business.

Under-25s are the biggest winners, Consumer Intelligence has found. Their bills have fallen by 11.9% as they benefit from the continuing growth of telematics.

Around 61% of the most competitive policies for under-25s are now offered by telematics providers. But younger drivers pay an average £1,635 a year compared with £413 for over-50s and £629 for motorists aged between 25 and 49.

All parts of the UK are seeing premiums drop, although the decrease in Scotland was marginal at 0.1%. However, Scots pay the lowest average premiums of £522, which is nearly half the annual bill of £1,024 in London.

But average car insurance bills are still 21.9% higher than in October 2013 when Consumer Intelligence, whose figures are used to calculate official inflation statistics, first began collecting the data.

John Blevins, pricing expert at Consumer Intelligence, said: “Insurers are now free to compete on price without insurance premium tax increases or changes to the Ogden rate, which sets compensation for major personal injury claims.”

“The downward trend should continue with the increasing adoption of telematics helping to maintain the momentum. It’s interesting that around 23% of all the most competitive quotes are now from telematics providers.”

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Lloyd’s broker and delegated authority specialist Endeavour Insurance Services has outsourced its claims processing to Advent Insurance Management.

Six members of staff have moved to Advent, where they will provide an initial outsourcing service to Endeavour for the remaining processing-based tasks, and also work with Advent’s other partners.

Endeavour partnered with Advent to develop the Advantage digital claims processing platform last year. The Lloyd’s broker offers the service free of charge to its clients.

This collaboration resulted in a transformation in the speed and efficiency with which Endeavour client claims can be processed, according to the Lloyd’s broker, and is expected, going forward, to create a dramatic reduction in the number of claims files that will need to be physically brokered to underwriters.

Sarah Newman, support services director at Endeavour Insurance Services, explained the decision to outsource claims processing to Advent.

She said: “Lloyd’s coverholders and third-party agents (TPAs) have complained of cumbersome, expensive and onerous claims handling processes, as well as increasing regulatory requirements, particularly compared to local markets. At the same time, the pressure is on Lloyd’s brokers to demonstrate that the role they are undertaking is truly vital to the insurance chain.”

“The Advantage system not only provides a single point of entry initiated by the coverholder or TPA, thus streamlining the existing method of handling claims, but satisfies the regulatory challenges which have been passed onto clients, therefore removing that burden from them.”

Endeavour founder and CEO David Lawrence said of the outsourcing agreement: “The London Market continues to evolve, with focus being increasingly drawn towards the cost of doing business.”

“Together with Advent, we have been able to demonstrate the value we bring to the claims process through the innovative Advantage platform, and why we—as brokers—continue to add value to our clients and markets by offering market-leading claims technology to all parties in the insurance chain. It is now a logical next step to outsource the non-Advantage functions of the claims process to a company with whom we have built up an excellent working relationship.”

Paul Bermingham, director at Advent, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Endeavour claims team to Advent and applaud the Endeavour management’s commitment to protecting their roles in the market.”

“Our growing relationship with Endeavour is based on a joint vision of refocusing the claims experience away from processing and administration to focus on adding real value to the coverholder and carrier relationships. The Advent team will continue to support Endeavour but will also have the opportunity to develop and progress across our other client engagements, products and services.”

Last month, Endeavour announced its agreement to merge with independent broker SSL Insurance Group, subject to Financial Conduct Authority approval.

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