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Mansfield Awards winners hail teams' 'tireless work'

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Companies recognised by the Mansfield Awards for claims excellence have paid tribute to their staff who delivered during a challenging period dominated by natural catastrophes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vero, winner of the overall Gold Mansfield Award, says it has been working for more than two years to “deliver best ever claims service”.

EGM Claims at Suncorp Michael Miller told insuranceNEWS.com.au today there are three parts to the Vero claims promise – expertise, service, and culture.

“We need to have people who know what they are doing and when brokers lodge claims they get expert advice,” he said.

“In the commercial area the brokers use us time and time again. So it’s really important that we have a consistent service going out to them.

“With culture, I can’t underscore enough how important it is. Our job is to absolutely pay out within the terms of the agreement. We need to look at each case individually, but with an overlay of fairness and compassion.”

Mr Miller says the accolade, which was accepted yesterday by Vero Executive Manager Commercial Property and Specialty Claims Luke Whenman, belongs to every member of the 250-strong commercial claims team.

“The team has done such a good job,” he said. “When I look at our commercial insurance team, they are a very ethical and skilled group of individuals who really care about customers. We’re immensely proud of them.”

Allianz Australia won the personal lines category for the second year running and Chief Customer Services Officer Brendan Dunne says to be recognised by industry stakeholders is “a privilege”.

“This recognition is testament to our Allianz claims team and their expert and empathetic claims-handling,” he said.

“I’m very proud of our people and partners. As an industry we play a very important role, even more so in these unprecedented times, and have immense gratitude for the hard-work and passion demonstrated.

“The Australian bushfires and other severe weather events, along with the global COVID-19 pandemic, have had a significant impact on our customers, and our claims team has worked tirelessly to support our customers.”

Hollard Commercial Insurance (HCi) took out the SME property and casualty award, and Interim CEO Jack Joubert says he’s proud of his claims team’s response during “a very turbulent year”.

“To be recognised for our claims service under these conditions is a real highlight of our journey so far,” he said

Mr Joubert says the core of HCi’s claims service is “delivering the promise made to the policyholder to protect them when things go wrong”.

“The HCi claims team is a specialised intermediated claims team,” he said. “They are empowered to make decisions and guide the broker through the claim process to help the policyholders get their business back up and running as soon as possible.

“The volume of claims from the back-to-back events in early 2020 created a real challenge for the HCi claims team and the entire industry as a whole.

“Their agile approach and experience in managing catastrophe claims has helped the claims team navigate through this very busy period.”

GT Insurance won the specialty category, and CEO Tony Dodd says the company recognises the “vital role” played by brokers.

“To be recognised through the Mansfield Awards is a great honour as it is judged by brokers themselves,” he said.

“Our core value is ‘fairness’ and this positive acknowledgement confirms that this value is being shown in our claims outcomes. I’m extremely proud of our claims team and thankful to LMI.

“We are committed to continually improving and ensuring better outcomes for our customers.”

FM Global won the corporate property and casualty category for the third year running.

Vice President – Operations Claims Manager Andrea Garske told insuranceNEWS.com.au the company was “absolutely thrilled” with another accolade as “it shows we are consistently doing a good job”.

“FM Global does claims quite differently from the rest of the industry,” she said.

“We’re a mutual owned by our policyholders and that gives us a different perspective in building relationships. We also have an in-house loss adjusting team and that is a model that really works for us.”

Ms Garske says the Mansfield Awards have “filled a big gap” in recognising claims teams.

“It’s helping to raise the profile of claims and encouraging people to understand that you need to think about the quality of the service you will get when the rubber hits the road, and not just the premium cost.

“When that claim happens, it’s when clients find out if they bought a good policy or a not so good one. It is make or break.”

The awards, named after the English Lord Chief Justice who introduced the concept of utmost good faith to the insurance process in 1766, are organised by Insurance News and LMI Group.

More than 2300 survey responses were received ahead of this year’s awards as part of the adjudication process. Unlike most awards focused on the insurance industry, companies and individuals are not invited to make submissions.

NSW state insurer icare and Steadfast have sponsored the event each year since it was launched in 2017.

Click here to see the full list of winners and finalists.