March 2021 Covid-19 Client Update

31 March 2021: Welcome to the latest (and hopefully last) edition of our Covid newsletter. Whilst the great majority of our staff remain home based and we continue to use video technology to support our adjusters, the content is focusing on the fact that some form of return to pre-Covid life is, potentially, not too far off.

However we cannot be complacent or assume that our working practices will not continue to be affected for some time – indeed our vrs partners in Europe are suffering a third wave and international travel is likely to remain greatly restricted for some considerable time yet file.

Whilst recent developments indicate that the government Covid route map will be achieved, the focus of QuestGates throughout the pandemic has been, and will remain, to maintain our high levels of service whilst recognising and seeking to alleviate the impact on the health and mental welfare of our staff, clients and their customers. We will however continue to monitor the position and keep everyone advised of any actions that we need to take in response to the ever changing landscape in which we find ourselves.

I Love Claims – Environmental Webinar

QuestGates has been a long-term supporter of I Love Claims and we are delighted to have become the platinum sponsor of the latest I Love Claims webinar series, which spotlights the specialist areas of both Environmental and Agricultural claims where QuestGates are a market leader.

With both of these specialist areas continuing to adapt to change as a result of legislative, political, economic, climate and technological transformation, the webinar series is a great opportunity to share knowledge and hear from experts across the insurance sector on how the industry has adapted and continues to adapt to the challenges posed by these claims and their impact on wider society.

The first webinar of the series focused on environmental claims and the risks, exposures, legal and regulatory issues that these claims can present.

There was representation on the panel from an underwriting, claims, legal and remediation perspective which resulted in some really interesting discussion around policy coverage, cost, the customer and service. The feedback from the first webinar has been excellent and will be followed up upon in the next Webinar “The Changing Face of Environmental Claims” which is due to be broadcast on 8 April at 11am and will focus on current and future considerations for the sector and how this could impact customers, brokers, insurers and the claims community.

Attached is a link to register for this webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__jXB-n3sTGaB8jk6QZ-FIA

The series will continue to broadcast every two months throughout 2021, future sessions being:

May: “EIL and Agricultural Pollution Claims”

July: “Agricultural claims – a niche area of insurance specialty”

September: “Agricultural Claims – responding to and leading change”

The final webinar in November will showcase a complex Agricultural EIL claim and be used to illustrate the various issues that have been discussed throughout the series. We will update you on the detailed content of each webinar prior to broadcast throughout 2021 and encourage you and your colleagues to watch each webinar or even consider participation!

2021 BIBA Conference is coming

This year we will be attending, as scheme providers, the virtual BIBA conference, which is being held on 12th & 13th May. We are proud to have been selected as BIBA’s preferred supplier of valuation services for the last eight years and we look forward to advising brokers on how we can help to ensure their clients maintain correct sums insured on Buildings, Plant, Machinery and all Other Contents, Business Interruption, Fine Art, Jewellery and Antiques.

The theme of the conference, Strengthening Resilience, represents the strength and determination of the insurance sector and will feature in much of the keynote and seminar discussions. After the year we have all had, bouncing back by minimising risk is a key focus of ours, particularly our continuing drive to eradicate under insurance.

You can register to attend the conference by clicking below:

https://www.biba2021.co.uk/

Also, Alistair Steward, Matt Wade and Lucy Simpson will be attending the conference on behalf of QuestGates and if you would like to arrange a virtual meeting with us at BIBA, please contact us below on:

alistair.steward@questgates.co.uk

matt.wade@questgates.co.uk

lucy.simpson@questgates.co.uk

Forum of Insurance Lawyers

‘We are proud to announce that we have become a Trade and Industry Partner of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL). We recognise the core aims of FOIL mirror those of ourselves with an emphasis on promoting best practice within the Insurance profession. FOIL has long been recognised as a voice for the Insurance community and we clearly understand the benefits of becoming their Trade and Industry Partner, for us and for our clients and their customers.

Many of the issues which FOIL are engaged in are central to the complexities within our own claims handling functions. With the current growth of our Complex Loss and other specialist claims divisions in mind, this gives us the opportunity to review and consider consultation response to key areas within the industry. By working alongside FOIL we look forward to assisting strengthen and develop their aim to shape public policy and endorse best principles and practice, for the benefits of members and their clients’.

Real Estate Update

Despite the current challenges presented by the hard market and Brexit, the QuestGates European Real Estate division continues to prosper. Since joining the vrs network in late 2018 as the UK & Ireland representative, this organisation has given us the platform to become an International Loss Adjuster, and through the development of their new European claims management system – COP, we can now extend our full services to continental Europe.

As a result, we have forged some great partnerships with many of the key UK and European Real Estate brokers, underwriters, MGA’s and Insurers and have won over 40 new accounts since Lockdown 1 last March. These clients extend themselves from flagship Skyscrapers in the City of London, UK & European Regional Shopping Centres, Luxury Flats & extensive industrial estates throughout the UK & continental Europe – a full offering of everything “Real Estate”.

Much of the market commentary is focused on what a post Covid world will look like for the Real Estate sector, with speculation on potential negative impacts on commercial properties given the move for increased homeworking & lease breaks within tenancy agreements. This is one of the reasons why we need to keep strongly focused on the clients we have won and are working with. In this respect we have invested and created a UK & European Real Estate claims handling team, offering a “One Stop UK Shop” for all things “European”. We also now have an agreed Claims Procedure Manual to ensure full consistency of operation across the whole of Europe which we manage through our arrangements with vrs Partners. The flexibility of QUBEConnex and COP enable the delivery of bespoke MI suites in multiple currencies, as per the client requirements in “real time data” and we strongly believe that our outstanding claims management services and MI delivery can only help our clients retain/win new business.

Both pre Covid and post Brexit, a flow of investment into major European cities has continued, so the opportunities are still very much alive for further growth as long as we continue to do all the right things.

Underwriters are continuing to push for rate uplifts which means our clients will look all the more closely at the claims service they receive and expect a clear demonstration of value. vrs QuestGates are now regarded as a “key” Real Estate player in both in UK and Europe and that is down to the hard work and service delivery which has been executed by all of our claims handlers and adjusters over the past couple of years.

Sustainability

Our target is to be carbon neutral by 2027 and we aim to achieve this through a combination of internal initiatives such as driving digitalisation and our engagement with suppliers to look at new, innovative building techniques and reducing landfill waste.

Recognising the role that we all play in ensuring that we leave the world a better place than we found it we launched our Environmental & Sustainability Plan in 2020 and we have set ambitious environmental goals to ensure continuous improvement. Our key targets to achieving this include:

  • 15% reduction in travel by driving digitalisation to maximise positive impact on the environment.

  • Agile and flexible working with a target of 75% of workforce homeworking.

  • 30% reduction in energy use.

  • 25% reduction in landfill waste from building repairs couple with “smart” building repairs.

  • Process enhancements to ensure 100% reduction in use of paper.

  • 20% increase in use of electrical vehicles

Of course, any change has to be meaningful, so we are in the process of considering proposals from specialists in this area to act as consultant and help ensure compliance with our published aims.

Sustainability

Our target is to be carbon neutral by 2027 and we aim to achieve this through a combination of internal initiatives such as driving digitalisation and our engagement with suppliers to look at new, innovative building techniques and reducing landfill waste.

Recognising the role that we all play in ensuring that we leave the world a better place than we found it we launched our Environmental & Sustainability Plan in 2020 and we have set ambitious environmental goals to ensure continuous improvement. Our key targets to achieving this include:

  • 15% reduction in travel by driving digitalisation to maximise positive impact on the environment.

  • Agile and flexible working with a target of 75% of workforce homeworking.

  • 30% reduction in energy use.

  • 25% reduction in landfill waste from building repairs couple with “smart” building repairs.

  • Process enhancements to ensure 100% reduction in use of paper.

  • 20% increase in use of electrical vehicles

Of course, any change has to be meaningful, so we are in the process of considering proposals from specialists in this area to act as consultant and help ensure compliance with our published aims.

We can still have a bit of Fun!

Recognising that home working has removed the ability to meet on a regular face-to-face basis with colleagues, we arranged two virtual events recently. Members of staff from all areas of QuestGates came together to enjoy firstly an evening involving Musical Bingo and this was followed up with a virtual horse racing night.

Both events proved to be highly enjoyable and plans are now underway to hold two similar (but on a very different theme!) virtual events for our clients. These are being scheduled for May, so watch this space.

Employee of the Year

QuestGates recognises that its staff are its greatest asset and operates numerous schemes to recognise this, one of which is our employee of the month. The employees recognised over the last year were:

Wayne Francis

Lucy Brown

Colin Rookes

Karen Woolley

Russell Woodward-Clarke

Charlotte Scriven

Melanie Rochelle-Bache

Adele Davies

Tracy Ward

Simon Powell

Ashley Clancy

Chelsea Beddows

Susan Bedingham

Simon Hogan

Pre Covid we would hold an annual awards lunch but clearly this has had to be postponed in recent months, but the employee of the year was Ashley Clancy although Russell Woodward-Clarke and Tracy Ward were highly commended.

Ashley joined QuestGates in May 2018 and has been a fantastic asset for us in our Scotland Property Team which has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Ashley has been a major part of the success in Scotland delivering quality service on her claims as well as receiving great feedback from local brokers in the last year. Ashley constantly goes above and beyond and is a deserved winner of this accolade.

Welcome to:

Jon Toulson

Jonathan Toulson started his newly created role of Head of Casualty Major and Complex Loss in January 2021.

Jon joined from Sedgwick where he was Personal Injury Technical Director, having trained with insurers, solicitors and the NHS Litigation Authority before embarking on his loss adjusting career over 15 years ago, Jon has an in-depth knowledge and experience of managing and overseeing a broad range of the most complex and catastrophic personal injury claims and particular expertise in handling high-profile abuse claims in the sports sector and with local authorities.

In this new role Jon reports to Stuart Lansdown – Director of Third Party Services and will work alongside technical director, Martyn Gabbitass, and complex loss director, Stuart McLean. His responsibilities will include developing the range of services provided by the QuestGates casualty major and complex loss team, exploring new industry sectors for the team to focus on and creating a training and development programme to nurture both existing and future talent.

Kris Locker

We are delighted to confirm that in February Kris joined us as client relationship manager, after many years with Crawfords.

Reporting to Lucy Simpson who has led the Property division’s client relationship team for the past two years, Kris will be responsible for managing key client and broker relationships mainly in the north west of England, where he is based.

Commenting on his new position, Kris says: “I’m really excited to be joining QuestGates. The business has a great reputation for delivering outstanding service which is something I am really passionate about. It will be great to be working with Lucy again supporting the development of strong partnerships with our clients.”

Stephen Feeney

Stephen Feeney has joined us as senior and technical complex environmental loss adjuster, previously working at Sedgwick.

QuestGates was the first loss adjusting company to establish a service dedicated to the management of environmental claims and remains the market leader in this sector, operating in the UK through its network of offices and internationally as the UK and Irish partner in the vrs Adjusters organisation.

A seasoned claims professional with almost 30 years’ experience, the last twenty of which as a loss adjuster, Stephen has expertise across a wide range of large loss and complex claims, with in-depth knowledge of the environmental, liability, agricultural and construction sectors.

Reporting to Glen Donaldson, Director of Specialist Serves, Stephen will be managing complex environmental losses predominantly in the north west of England where he is based, together with support on international environmental assignments. Stephen will also use his expertise to assist with other types of complex PLPD claims.

Just In…

We are delighted to confirm that QuestGates has been short listed in two categories at the forthcoming Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards.

Our new service, Heritage, which is dedicated to the sympathetic valuation and reinstatement of listed and buildings with historic interest, is a finalist in the Claims Service Solution of the Year category. In addition, our Corporate Claims Solutions team have been short listed in the Third Party Claims Management Team of the Year category for the exceptional service delivered to a key client in the hospitality sector, who had suffered severe business challenges as a consequence of the Covid pandemic.

The final judging stage is at the end of April, so fingers crossed…