Including a claims service as a standalone service can provide benefits extending well beyond the claims process and become a major strength in your practice.
In 2014, a soon-to-be client and her husband – who were referred to Rando and Associates by an existing client – came to us seeking assistance with a total and permanent disability and income protection claim against policies within her industry super fund.
A back injury had left her unable to return to work and she was seeking the monthly benefit associated with her IP policy and a lump sum payout from her TPD policy.
When they arrived at our office, they were at the end of their tether and very stressed about not seeing any results after three months working on submitting the claim themselves.
Taking over the claims process for them, the task was sent to our claims specialist, who faced early hurdles in the process. Namely, of the two treating doctor reports required, one had to come from a specialist in Perth who was in high demand and the client was unable to get in to see them for two months.
This caused a lot of anxiety for the client who, I think, if not for the reassurance and ongoing follow-up by our specialist, may have walked away from the process.
Once the treating doctor reports were completed, our claims specialist contacted the industry fund weekly, if not twice weekly for updates and all forms were express posted to ensure as fast a processing time as possible.
The claims specialist also made weekly contact with the client so that they wouldn’t lose faith in the process or be left feeling that it was their job to follow up with us.
With the forms and reports submitted, the payout from the TPD policy was received within three weeks and shortly thereafter, the superannuation paid out. This went i to a pension account, which the client is able to draw from.
In addition to the lump sum payout, the client received her monthly IP payments for the full benefit period of two years.
There are a couple of things I attribute the success of this, and other claims like it, to:
The temperament of the staff member you choose to work on claims is very important. Our claims specialist, Maddison has been with Rando and Associates for five years. She’s calm under pressure and not easily frustrated by a process that, at times, can take time.
This is not the kind of work that is suited to a staff member who may get combative in the face of slow processes and certainly it will not lead to the best outcome for a client. Maddison is also consistent and meticulous in following actions up and, anecdotally, I find this leads to a high level of client satisfaction.
This claim was a turning point for me in terms of our business model and pushed us toward providing a claims service as a standalone option to any person who might walk in off the street and need our help. We also advertise it as such while still offering it to certain client segments, as part of their service agreement.
Where this case is concerned, the client has been a great asset to our business, agreeing to participate in a campaign running across social and print media that included photos and a video testimonial. It is one of the great collateral benefits of providing good service to people, they are very willing return that support wherever possible.
Mark Rando is senior adviser and managing director of Rando and Associates, based in Bunbury WA. He is a finalist of the AFA Adviser of the Year 2011, 2012 and 2013 and a former state chair of the MDRT. Mark currently mentors other advisers in Australia and overseas.