Nick Horsmon and Simon Radcliffe recently joined Liberty Global Transaction Solutions (GTS) as our new claims counsel.  Nick is based in New York and services all GTS claims in the Americas.  Simon is based in London and services all claims relating to Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC) business.  In this article they tell us a bit more about the claims counsel role and the impact that their unique positions will have on the claims service that Liberty GTS provides.

Can you tell us a bit more about the claims counsel role?

Simon: The most notable feature of our role is that we are dedicated solely to servicing GTS claims.  It is unique in our industry and will provide our brokers and our clients with a single, consistent point of contact during the claims process.  We sit with and work closely with our underwriting teams, participate in underwriting training sessions, provide input on wordings and are well-informed about ongoing deal flow.  This set up is invaluable in the event of a claim as our entire team is able to work together to ensure a timely and considered response.  It is all part of recognizing that offering an exemplary, in-house claims service adds value throughout the lifecycle of our relationships with clients, from prior to inception of the policy, to the point of claim and throughout the subsequent claims handling process.

How will the role positively impact the claims service that Liberty GTS provides?  

Nick: Quite simply, our goal is to deliver best in class claims services. In doing so, we will fill a void in the market by providing a truly holistic claims service.  This could mean reassuring a first-time insured that has reservations about the use of transactional insurance solutions, or working flexibly and expeditiously with a client when a claim arises under particularly urgent or unconventional business circumstances.  We are also passionate about the M&A market and enjoy discussing trends with our brokers and clients to get ahead of potential issues before they arise. No matter the situation, we strive to add value to our clients throughout the entire deal process – an outlook that is simply unprecedented in our space.

What are you looking to do differently?

Simon: We will be looking to collaborate with the broking community to draw up a set of best practices that will define the level of service to expect from us during the claims process and against which our subsequent performance can be measured and judged.  We will also be sitting down with our clients and brokers at the end of the claims process to evaluate what went well from their perspective and what could have gone better so that we can learn from and adapt our behaviors and how we work going forward in order to improve the overall claims experience.

Nick: In my experience, claims professionals at other carriers and in other areas of insurance are often assigned a claim file with no prior knowledge of the insured and without a real understanding of why the policy was even procured in the first place.  As a result, many claims managers fail to truly appreciate their clients’ business concerns when assessing claims.  This can lead to unnecessary tension and, in some cases, to an adversarial process that discounts business sense and overlooks the common goals that are shared by a carrier and its insured.  By embedding us as dedicated claims counsel within, not separate from Liberty GTS, our team is designed to avoid this downfall.

What influenced your decision to join Liberty GTS?

Simon: The main draw for me was the opportunity to become part of a global, market-leading underwriting team that is determined to place claims service at the front and center of their client proposition.  I dealt with many of the MGAs and insurers that are involved in this class of business during my time in private practice and none of them had a genuinely dedicated M&A claims function.  I had long felt that this was a missed opportunity given the complex, time-intensive nature of M&A claims and the importance of dealing with them promptly.  It was very satisfying, therefore, to find that Liberty GTS felt the same way and in that sense they were an ideal fit given my views in terms of the value that such a role can add to M&A insurance products.

Nick: I chose Liberty GTS because it meant joining a global team with trusted leadership, an innovative vision, and the backing of an iconic company.  Furthermore, the opportunity to round-out my claims analytical skillset with underwriting strategy, and operations management was unmatched.  I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this incredibly talented and experienced team as it continues to grow and expand its role as a leader in the market.

What do you see as the main challenges involved in your role?

Simon: I think that one of the biggest challenges we face is changing the mindset of buyers so that they focus more on claims service when considering their choice of insurer – after all, the true value of a M&A policy lies in the ability of the insurer to deal with claims promptly when they arise and to honor them whatever their size.  This has never been such an important issue given the recent influx of MGAs and other new entrants into the market whose claim function and their ability to deal with an increase in the frequency and size of M&A claims and absorb losses is in many cases untested.  It is why Liberty GTS attach so much importance to claims and how we deal with them as demonstrated by our investment in the claim counsel role and our recent announcement of the payment of a full €50m policy limit claim.

Nick: At a broader level, I hope to fundamentally change the way in which business people view insurance claims. Many market participants have endured contentious claims battles in the past and expect the worst in terms of the professionalism and business acumen of claims professionals.  We pride ourselves on changing that mindset and, thanks to the support and vision of Liberty’s leadership, we plan to set the bar for claims teams in our industry.