International Programs Require Careful Claims Handling. Dedicated Claims Professionals and New Technologies Are Here to Help
There’s no denying that the world is more connected than ever.
For large, multinational corporations, today’s globally interconnected world comes with a number of advantages. Zoom and similar technologies make it possible to chat with employees and conduct business across different countries and even different continents.
If an insurance claim occurs at an office outside an insured’s home country, the distance can suddenly feel overwhelming.
“In many ways, the world is getting a lot smaller,” said William Porter, CPCU, Head of International Programs for the Americas with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, “but there’s nothing that makes the world feel bigger than having a claim in a location outside of where your company is domiciled.”
With global organizations, complexity will always be an issue, driven by the increased number of insurers and reinsurers likely to be involved in international programs at various capacities and the issues that arise with follow markets on claims when they occur. Upon a claim occurrence, insureds will need to navigate the challenges presented by logistics, culture, and language in international business.
“For one, physically getting to the location where the claim occurred may be challenging. Then there’s managing local customs, philosophies, and languages – all which can impact claims handling,” Porter detailed. “Making sure you have the right balance of global and local specialists is important to ensure you’re covering all your bases.”
From inflation to property risks and supply chain issues, global risks are top-of-mind for business leaders all over the world. Many are reviewing their international insurance programs to ensure they have the coverage and claims expertise in place to respond to the risks of today’s world.
Why International Claims Require Special Handling
When a claim occurs outside of an insured’s home country, they’re likely to have many questions about local regulations which can vary significantly from country to country.
“What is the applicable law and competent jurisdiction? This is the key question at the outset of a claim. said Dustin Robertson, CPCU, AIC, Claims Manager and North American International Programs Regional Claims Champion with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. “Confidently being able to answer this question is critical to know what to expect during the claims handling process.”
For some large multinational corporations, a loss in one country can ripple out into other aspects of their business. So they may be dealing with that impact in many countries at once.
Take supply chain risk for instance. Supply chain issues can cause ripple effects where a property loss in one country could leave suppliers unable to deliver on promised products. Locations in multiple other countries may be affected by those delays, resulting in time element or contingent time element claims spanning the globe.
In these cases, businesses with impacted operations in multiple countries will benefit from a network of claims managers and insurer partners on the ground in each country to help navigate varying regulations and any communication hurdles that may arise.
Outside of varying local regulations and cultural practices, differences in policy language between local and master policies can be challenging for insureds to navigate when a claim arises.
Global master programs may include differences in limits (DIL) and differences in conditions (DIC) clauses, which allows a master policy, issued in the insured’s home country to respond to claims where local policies may not provide coverage.
If there are unanticipated differences in local policies’ terms and coverages afforded, a nonconcurrency can occur, and an insured can find themselves with gaps in their program.
“Nonconcurrencies can create unanticipated coverage gaps,” Robertson said.
Property programs, which make up the majority of many international carriers’ books of business, are particularly vulnerable to nonconcurrencies due to the hardening insurance market and tightening terms many insureds are experiencing.
To reduce unexpected nonconcurrencies, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions uses its own ONE Form which mirrors the language of the master policy in local policies so that there is consistency between the terms and conditions.
“Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ ONE Form brings consistency in how policy cover is interpreted across international markets where we operate and helps to avoid issues that can arise around interpretation of language,” Robertson said.
Dedicated Claims Pros and Strong Technology Drive Increased Transparency
When it comes to providing on-the-ground claims expertise for international programs, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has worked to develop multinational teams that offer constant support through the claims process.
“We have a network of Swiss Re offices and network partners that work together to help tackle complexities and support our customers in planning for and navigating the most complex claims around the world,” Robertson said.
The team prioritizes transparency at every point in the claims process. “We’re hearing from our customers that they first and foremost want transparency – within their international programs overall but especially when it comes to claims handling,” Porter said. “We strive to give our customers and our brokers that insight and clarity into how their program is working and how it will respond.”
One of the key parts of their claims management team are the claims relationship managers. This group of professionals serves as the primary point of contact within the producing country. They work with claims adjusters and local experts to ensure that each claim is handled properly.
“They liaise with those local insurers and adjusters to ensure there’s connectedness and communication across the globe,” Robertson said. “Quick and effective communication and information exchange is critical when dealing with an active claim.”
In addition to the support of claims managers, the company’s PULSE platform gives customers constant access to their policy and claims information. Through the PULSE platform, insureds and their brokers can review their policies, track claims, submit loss notifications and more.
“People want to be able to access information at any given time,” Porter said.
“Our state-of-the-art PULSE portal provides 24/7 access. At any given time, our customers can jump into this portal and access this information on their own, in addition to having a claims contact to speak with,” Porter added.
Choosing a Carrier with an Expert International Programs Claims Team
Selecting an international programs carrier with a robust, customer-centered approach to claims can help multinational businesses operate with ease both at home and abroad.
Robertson and his team with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions are dedicated to helping customers with international programs through each step of the claims process.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ claims relationship managers and dedicated teams work to provide timely insights to customers so they can feel secure knowing where each claim is in the process and how it is being handled. Robertson and his team work with customers to understand their business and develop a tailored-claims management strategy that meets their needs.
“We want to be able to sit down with the customer, understand the unique nuances and characteristics of their business and develop a strategy for addressing their claims going forward,” Robertson said.
To learn more, visit: https://corporatesolutions.swissre.com/insurance-solutions/international-programs.html.
This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.