20 August 2019 - Unlike other insurance segments, Accident & Health (A&H) is arguably one of the more emotive product lines as it involves events that may lead to injury, sickness, client insecurity, and potentially death. From a broker’s perspective, even though A&H product lines are not expensive when compared to other lines of insurance, the cost of not understanding the complexities of these products could lead to significant financial loss and reputational damage for the broker and client, and places a client or its employee’s at risk of future financial hardships or life threatening situations.
The approach to A&H cover should therefore be consultative. It is critical to ensure brokers totally understand their clients’ needs and objectives. Brokers also need to understand the underwriter’s capabilities as far as risk protection is concerned and the associated limits and cover. As a broker, you know your client’s business better than the underwriter. It is therefore critical to ensure the client is not just making a decision to place the business based on price alone and without assessing whether the insurance placed, and underwriter support meets the client’s needs.
Unsurprisingly, service is also key. A broker should be aware of any limits and restrictions in policy wordings as well as a thorough understanding of an underwriter’s assistance infrastructure and how this plays a part in the event of an emergency which may give rise to a claim.
We all too often witness occasions where the broker has not met the clients expectations due to a number of reasons including, an underwriters poor claims handling, a general misunderstanding of the policy terms and conditions, inadequate travel or security assistance or service capabilities, particularly when there is a medical emergency.
In the majority of cases this has been as a result of the client taking up the cheaper premium option with inadequate cover, and where the cover is provided by an underwriter who is unable to deliver on a promise of providing a fast and efficient process when needed the most; such as when medical and assistance services are urgently required or when there is an urgent need to evacuate an employee from a third world country.
Therefore, when considering where to place A&H risks, it is important the broker understands and considers the following:
i. The underwriter’s service capabilities. Is there a global footprint to efficiently deliver – claims, medical assistance and the required technology to back this up?
ii. Compare the policy wordings in detail as this may reveal major deficiencies in cover (work with your underwriter in this regard).
iii. Ensure the underwriter you are dealing with has a thorough understanding of their A&H product suite, a proven track record of underwriting both simple and complex risks within the varying segments of the market.
iv. If things go wrong, consider the wider ramifications. A&H is all about insuring people, often key people. Brokers risk losing a client if a corporate travel claim is denied or poorly managed by the underwriter. It is therefore crucial you select the cover and the underwriter who can offer the protection and emergency services required by your client.
v. You cannot put a price on a human life. Price should never be the overriding objective when protecting employees. In a saturated market, finding a longstanding reputable carrier with global assistance reach is paramount to ensuring your clients people and their families are adequately protected.