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Customers left hanging as insurers play catch-up

Long delays and the difficulty of tracking down anyone to talk to has left us fed up with our insurance companies.

Two out of five of us are annoyed with insurers that take too long deciding whether or not to cover claims, according to new research from the EDM Group, the data-management provider.

One in five say it's difficult to find someone to speak to, while others complain that insurers are slow in tracking down the right information, and others say they'd prefer to chat on the phone rather than be forced to talk to insurers through the internet.

"Having access to the right information quickly is key to insurers offering customers quality service," said Craig Campbell of EDM. In defence of the insurers, he pointed out that there is a growing amount of data, and more and more communication channels that are used by businesses and customers.

For instance there is a trend for disgruntled customers to contact firms direct on Twitter, in the hope of forcing them to react quickly or face a social media disaster.

However, few firms seem to be adapting yet to new ways of communicating directly with customers.

The research shows that professionals in the industry believe the quality of information held by insurers will improve over the next three to five years.

"Our feeling is that insurers have stepped up to this challenge and are making a number of changes to the way they manage their information," said Mr Campbell. "This includes greater digitisation of information and less focus on paper-based data."

However, that may not be enough for the seemingly instant demands of many of today's critical consumers.