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Would You Thank Your Insurer in a Full-Page Ad? This Company Did.

QBE has won public praise for exceeding clients’ expectations, but their secret ingredient for customer satisfaction may not be what you think.
By: | August 31, 2018 • 6 min read

QBE has won public praise for exceeding clients’ expectations, but their secret ingredient for customer satisfaction may not be what you think.

Do you love your insurer enough to take out a full-page ad, singing their praises in the local paper?

As improbable as it sounds, that’s exactly what one furniture company did after a fire destroyed their facility and all their inventory. Their claim for a total loss was settled in fewer than two weeks, and “we have never been treated better in our lives,” the ad said.

“Thank you, QBE, and a very special thanks to the greatest adjuster of them all, Laurie Stover,” the ad concluded, calling out the individual claims adjuster on their case.

It’s a recognition that any carrier would love to receive, but few could claim. So how did QBE make such a positive impression on their customer?

“Lots of companies say they are customer-centric, but no one else creates a customer-centric model the same way we do,” said Russ Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, QBE North America.

“We actually start by putting our employees first.”

Listening to Feedback Creates Happier Employees

By making employees the top priority, QBE creates a workforce which feels motivated to provide a high level of customer service and create solutions for clients that continue to make the global insurer best in class.

“People know you care when you listen to them and value what they have to say,” Johnston said. “We try to demonstrate that attentiveness and transparency every day.”
— Russ Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, QBE North America

Russ Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, QBE North America

“You need people who believe in your company and will show up every day, enthusiastic and energized to work,” Johnston said. “If you don’t have that, customers will feel it. They can sense an absence of people who actually care about their problems.”

Johnston and the rest of QBE’s executives foster an engaged workforce by actively listening to employees’ feedback and taking action on it. Executives regularly meet with junior employees to ask how the company could improve the work environment or make it easier to serve clients.

And the meetings aren’t just for show.

“We’ve made about a half-dozen material changes based on those forums,” said Dan Franzetti, Chief Operating Officer, QBE North America. Most of those changes are small adjustments that add up to a big impact on an employee’s work life … and the company’s bottom line. One employee, for example, proposed a different way to process expense accounts.

“We’ve all lived that pain of submitting expenses,” Franzetti said. “But we changed our process after an employee offered a better solution. It not only saved headaches for our workers, but it also saved the company money in the long run.”

Outside of face-to-face meetings, employees can ask questions of senior leaders through an internal social network called Yammer. Execs and local managers alike either respond to queries directly or will send out a team-wide message to address common issues.

That openness of communication is also manifested in the way offices are arranged. No one — not even senior executives — sits in a closed-off office space. Company leaders — including Johnston and Franzetti — sit in cubicles alongside their team members.

“People know you care when you listen to them and value what they have to say,” Johnston said. “We try to demonstrate that attentiveness and transparency every day.”

Employees Value Companies Who Invest in Their Communities

QBE also demonstrates dedication to its workforce by supporting the causes that matter to them.

“I’m proud of the idea that my team came up with and that they felt empowered and cared enough about our customers to find a way to make things easier for them.”
— Dan Franzetti, Chief Operating Officer, QBE North America

Dan Franzetti, Chief Operating Officer, QBE North America

“A significant portion of our roughly 2,500 U.S. employees has built or contributed to local initiatives or programs in their communities,” Franzetti said. “To be able to provide the time, flexibility and economic support to enable them to do that is really important.”

QBE’s business resource groups also provide funding and other types of support to programs benefitting women, LGBTQ, veteran and multicultural employees and community members. Several of its senior leaders took part in the annual Pride March in New York City or participated in Memorial Day commemorations. The company also donates $1 million annually through the QBE Foundation in the U.S. and allocates a portion of premium toward social impact investments through its Premiums4Good campaign.

But, Johnston said, “it doesn’t take massive investments or teams of consultants to show employees you care about what matters to them. You just have to be genuine. Because people can feel when you’re being genuine versus when you’re just trying to check some box or project a good image.”

Truly Engaged Employees Care About Their Client’s Needs

When employees know that their employers truly care, they feel proud of their workplace and are motivated to show that through excellent customer service. QBE employees have, on several occasions, proven their dedication to solving clients’ problems beyond their expectations.

They proposed, for example, eliminating the burdensome documentation required for property owners to file claims for a total loss.

“We had one California-based employee who lost her home to wildfire. Her insurer at the time required itemization of all her belongings — amounting to thousands of lines of information — before advancing any payment,” Franzetti said. Any records she may have had detailing her assets were in the home and lost in the fire, as was her computer. She had to purchase a laptop just to be able to catalog her possessions.

Bear in mind, this procedure is the norm for most insurers.

Recognizing the pain this causes for clients, QBE claims staffers suggested the adjusting and payment process for property losses could be dramatically improved.

“So we changed our process,” Franzetti said. “In a situation like that, we paid 75 percent of the policy limits on contents without any documentation, because it’s the right thing to do.”

“I’m proud of the idea that my team came up with and that they felt empowered and cared enough about our customers to find a way to make things easier for them when they’ve just suffered a traumatic event.”

That same altruism is what drove Laurie Stover to settle her client’s claim in less than two weeks, despite the significant loss of their inventory, and earn that full page shout-out.

Johnston said, “If you focus on creating a great environment for your employees, you don’t need senior leaders directing them to do the right thing.”

To learn more about QBE, visit https://www.qbe.com/us.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with QBE North America. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




QBE North America is a division of QBE Insurance Group Limited, one of the world's 20 largest insurance and reinsurance companies. We offer the unique integration of financial strength, a broad product set and sophisticated capabilities to deliver value for our partners and policyholders.

2018 Risk All Stars

Stop Mitigating Risk. Start Conquering It Like These 2018 Risk All Stars

The concept of risk mastery and ownership, as displayed by the 2018 Risk All Stars, includes not simply seeking to control outcomes but taking full responsibility for them.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 3 min read

People talk a lot about how risk managers can get a seat at the table. The discussion implies that the risk manager is an outsider, striving to get the ear or the attention of an insider, the CEO or CFO.

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But there are risk managers who go about things in a different way. And the 2018 Risk All Stars are prime examples of that.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Goodyear’s Craig Melnick had only been with the global tire maker a few months when Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rainfall on Houston.

Brilliant communication between Melnick and his new teammates gave him timely and valuable updates on the condition of manufacturing locations. Melnick remained in Akron, mastering the situation by moving inventory out of the storm’s path and making sure remediation crews were lined up ahead of time to give Goodyear its best leg up once the storm passed and the flood waters receded.

Goodyear’s resiliency in the face of the storm gave it credibility when it went to the insurance markets later that year for renewals. And here is where we hear a key phrase, produced by Kevin Garvey, one of Goodyear’s brokers at Aon.

“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership,” Garvey said, in what may be something of an understatement.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Dianne Howard, a 2018 Risk All Star and the director of benefits and risk management for the Palm Beach County School District, achieved ownership of $50 million in property storm exposures for the district.

With FEMA saying it wouldn’t pay again for district storm losses it had already paid for, Howard went to the London markets and was successful in getting coverage. She also hammered out a deal in London that would partially reimburse the district if it suffered a mass shooting and needed to demolish a building, like what happened at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

2018 Risk All Star Jim Cunningham was well-versed enough to know what traditional risk management theories would say when hospitality workers were suffering too many kitchen cuts. “Put a cut-prevention plan in place,” is the traditional wisdom.

But Cunningham, the vice president of risk management for the gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, wasn’t satisfied with what looked to him like a Band-Aid approach.

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Instead, he used predictive analytics, depending on his own team to assemble company-specific data, to determine which safety measures should be used company wide. The result? Claims frequency at the company dropped 60 percent in the first year of his program.

Alumine Bellone, a 2018 Risk All Star and the vice president of risk management for Ardent Health Services, faced an overwhelming task: Create a uniform risk management program when her hospital group grew from 14 hospitals in three states to 31 hospitals in seven.

Bellone owned the situation by visiting each facility right before the acquisition and again right after, to make sure each caregiving population was ready to integrate into a standardized risk management system.

After consolidating insurance policies, Bellone achieved $893,000 in synergies.

In each of these cases, and in more on the following pages, we see examples of risk managers who weren’t just knocking on the door; they were owning the room. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]