Insurance companies have reputational assets from the goodwill, image and brand they try to project in the consumer marketplace. One insurer is like a good neighbor. One puts you in good hands. Another is on your side. Yet another might be able to hook you up with a caveman… or a gecko.
The flip side: insurers have reputational risks that can take a hit if an insurance company botches a claim. In the age of the Internet, where it seems that everyone has a blog (including claim commentators!), one client’s dissatisfaction with an insurance claim can quickly reach tens of thousands through the power of cyberspace. Such is the case with a recent blog by one John Fergurson in his August 12, 2008 blog, “State Farm is Where???”
Here, Fergurson relates the pain of a homeowners insurance claim he filed with Stare Farm. He quickly found that his soothing agent was not the one who handled his loss. In fact, he was surprised to learn that agents have little to do with the adjusters who “service” policyholders. / The agent is a local; guy or gal, part of the local community.
The adjuster is off, hundreds of miles away.
Whether you agree or disagree, I’d recommend you take five minutes to read “State Farm is Where?”
The point here is not to pile on State Farm or any other insurer. The point is to understand how claim service can either strengthen a brand or undermine it. Filing a claim is, for policyholders, where “the rubber meets the road.” Insurers who project warm and fuzzy treatment but who deliver hard-nosed, ball-busting claim service may find their brands tarnished.
They might even find themselves the target of criticism on the blogosphere.