Covid-19 Client Update

Our previous updates have detailed the steps that we have taken to ensure that QuestGates continues to operate as close to BAU as possible, our telephony and IT systems fully supporting home working. In this edition we will show how we are continually adapting our usual working methods to ensure that we are able to deliver the most proactive and customer friendly service available whilst informing our clients on key issues which may of interest to you.

Hospitality Sector Claims

The current lockdown situation and resultant furloughing of significant numbers of staff, in particular in the hospitality sector, is having a significant impact on the ability of defendant companies to complete reasonable enquiries into allegations being made against them in regard to both EL and PL claims.  Consequently, there is an increased possibility that claims that would otherwise have been concluded within the MoJ Portal will be forced to exit the process, bringing increased costs unfairly at a time when the sector is prejudiced by their compliance with Government instructions.

Our Corporate Claims Services team is working closely with our partners in the hospitality sector, (in support of what may become and industry wide initiative to lobby the Ministry of Justice regarding temporary changes to the timescales for the liability decision to be reached in regard to EL/PL Claims, where opportunities to complete enquiries are frustrated by absence of personnel required to provide such support.  In tandem, we are in discussions with the Portal company regarding the necessary mechanics of the change that would be needed to the Portal to facilitate the above, and were surprised to learn that we are the only business in the Defendant sector to have made such an approach.

Business Interruption Distance Visiting – In Practice

Much has been written about loss adjusters continuing to conduct site visits using rules of social distancing – but it is only when the steps involved in this are recorded, that full appreciation of just how surreal our lives have become can be comprehended:

9.10 – arrive at risk address and park my car

9.11 – once again check I have all PPE required

9.12 – Ring insured to confirm I have arrived (he is sitting in the car pared next to mine)

9.12 – Insured unlocks premises and returns to his car

9.13 – I put on PPE, leave car and conduct site inspection

9.35 – I attract insured’s attention from a safe distance to ask a query.  He winds his window down and shouts the answer to me

9.50 – Inspection completed, evidence secured, and photographs taken.  I return to my car

9.51 – Once seated in the car, I ring the insured and obtain the rest of the information required over the phone

10.05 – meeting ends and insured drives away

10.10 – I call the broker with an update, finish off my notes and move on to the next “distance visit”

 

BIBA BI Webinar

As a Facility provider and Associate Member of BIBA, we have today (24th April) presented a webinar to BIBA members covering BI issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivered by our Head of Major Loss, Mike Ledgerton, we were delighted that over 300 brokers dialled in, participated fully and gave some encouraging feedback.

The webinar was recorded and is available to BIBA members on BIBA’s website.

Keeping in Touch…

There have been reports of “People Disappearing from Business (PDB)” having been furloughed or new to home working and seemingly forgotten about by their employer.

Like many businesses, QuestGates has temporarily closed all offices and our entire workforce is currently home working. In addition, as previously reported, we had to take advantage of the furlough scheme following the reduction of new claims in our Motor and Liability divisions, but we are committed to maintaining contact with all our colleagues. We are keeping them up to date with developments, making regular calls to them and encouraging everyone to keep in touch via posts on Yammer. Everyone is affected by these troubling times in their own way and we are working hard to minimise the impact of this on the mental health of our valued colleagues.

Interim Fees

We are keen to ensure we do all we can to avoid adding to the workload of our clients in this difficult time.

Our insurer clients usually expect an increase in the number of interim fee invoices raise by their adjusting partners following weather surges during the winter months.  However, under the present extraordinary circumstances we feel that this would only add to the workload of claims departments at a time when we all need to focus on the needs of the customer.

As such, in addition to adapting our own usual processes in order to enhance efficiency, we have also taken the decision to avoid issuing interim fees on general property loss adjusting claims for the foreseeable future, unless absolutely necessary.  Instead we will focus our efforts on settling claims speedily and professionally and issuing a single, full fee on conclusion.

Is This the “New Normal”?

We are already seeing some new and interesting trends emerge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may well affect the claims sector and thus worthy of note:

  • Increase in “trip and slip” claim notifications when the incident was well before the virus affected the UK

  • Claims for alleged injury caused by security guard ejecting a couple from a supermarket after breaching the “one person at a time” rule.

  • Increase in cases involving fraudulent misrepresentation by the insured in order to maximise amount claimed

  • Delays being experienced in the issue of police and coroner’s reports

  • Some cases of claimant’s solicitors delaying/batching of new claims and then issuing in bulk

A belated Happy Easter?

It has become customary for QuestGates to send Easter Eggs to our clients at this time of year by way of a thank you for the support you provide.

Of course, with offices closing and people moving to home working in recent weeks, our plan to replicate this has been somewhat disrupted.  However, with the eggs already purchased and stored in our Birmingham head office, we took this decision to arrange for them to be distributed amongst the team that makes up West Midlands Ambulance Service.

We are sure you will agree that these essential workers deserve all the support we can give and the eggs were very well received.