Insurance abuse

Click to follow
The Independent Online
An increasing number of insurance claimants are becoming abusive, according to a survey of staff by Home & Overseas, a subsidiary of Eagle Star and Britain's biggest travel insurer.

"Claims rage" is more common among women and people over the age of 30, and claimants also tend to be more offensive to female staff.

Asking claimants for further information which was not provided initially can often be the trigger for abusive behaviour, says the insurer, since this is often interpreted by the claimant as questioning the validity of the claim. And even when claims are turned round in 48 hours, claimants are often still confrontational and insulting, it adds.

Home & Overseas reports one instance where an unhappy policyholder turned up at the insurer's claims office and threatened to shoot the staff if his claim wasn't paid. Another angry customer wrote a three-page letter almost entirely consisting of four-letter words and ending with the wish that the claims handler and all her family would die.

The insurer offers a checklist for making claims quicker, easier and less stressful:

Read the claim form carefully before starting to fill it in.

Answer all questions fully - do not leave blanks or write "n/a".

Supply as much information as possible.

Write clearly in block capitals.

If there are documents you cannot supply, or there is a potential delay, advise of the reason.

If you do not understand something, call the claims handlers.

Always send the originals of supporting documents; insurers will not accept photocopies.