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A Claim is the Debut of an Insurance Contract

Lourdes Perlines González, Director of Perlines-Consulting Insurance, believes that claims management should be a priority for the insurance industry today staying true to the promise of protecting policyholders from loss when an accident or unforeseen event happens.

Such a statement, along with my deep conviction that I work in “one of the most beautiful professions in the world”, arises from almost 24 years of professional activity, uninterrupted, both as Crisis Manager and writing Conclusive Expert Incident Reports in over 17,000 cases of every possible description. Shipwrecks, fires, cave-ins, machinery, processes, forensic incident reconstruction, accidents in the workplace - an endless roster of situations that share a nexus: people in crisis.

People going through a situation that will shape their life, their balance, their stability in profound ways. People who have entrusted professionals with such events. People who’ve hired a financial service that will safeguard and intervene on events covered under an agreement that has been formalized by an insurance policy.

Here’s where the “buts” usually begin. However, we should consider the “pros”: Pro-people, Pro-legacy, Pro-patrimony, Pro-company, Pro-life.

My professional scope has always been connected with material damages. However, in a few, perhaps too many situations, we’ve had bodily injury and sadly also loss of life. At any rate, buildings, infrastructure, commodities, freight, plant and equipment, transportation, livestock, vehicles, vessels (the list goes on), all share, again, a nexus: they serve, or are property of... people.

People who pin their hopes, at times of absolute prostration, on professionals who, faced with expected guarantees of protection and security, seem to — and I say seem to — demonstrate greatest scruple and hesitation when it comes to donning their gala attire, as if the ties or the heels greatly inconvenience them (my apologies for the frivolous metaphor).

Allow me to explain. Why don’t we conduct detailed analyses of all the characteristics and conditions for insurance  whenwe prepare our contracts? Or at the moment of inspection? Why don't we match the realities to the various guarantees established in the contracts when we underwrite them? It would be so much simpler when the moment of truth came around and it was time to go all in! It’s simpler to monitor a single event than to get started on a cross-sector approach that will result in a total conversion of it. 

When an accident or unforeseen event happen, something destructive, unfortunate, we are the last resort for one or several people, namely in a professional capacity. With the facts behind us, the crisis manifested, we don't have to fight tooth and nail over the premium anymore. No. Specifically, all we have to do is demonstrate what we are capable of, forgetting what we bought or sold days, months, years ago.

Leading a sector means, in my possible misplaced conception, to serve that sector. To plant our feet on the ground, dig our heels into the mud, go where it happened, face the piles of rubble that once held all the hopes. effort and commitment they represented. But I don't want to discuss the contents or the container today, just the soul that people invested in there.

The current confusion between service and subservience only renders more opaque the lack of knowledge and professional skill. It translates into the widening gap between parties, in the inevitable interdependence of the agents that shape the system ultimately deteriorating. This aspect is latent across a number of domains as we see almost every passing day.

Current demands, furthered by new markets opening up, accessibility to data and the development of new technologies and methods, sustain my profound conviction that we’re facing a now-or-never moment where we can move toward a scenario that will lead both key actors to a relationship that goes beyond commercial or transactional and becomes a true partnership, reliant on commitment, transparency, rigor and reciprocated loyalty. 

The universal call to proactiveness when world leaders approved the SDG (2015) puts the insurance sector in a position of heightened relevance. Among the multitude of allusions that I have found to sustainability, I would adopt one of them, the one that goes something like, “...the principle to ensure present needs without compromising those of the future...” It is literally steeped in the DNA of the insurance sector.

My article in no way constitutes exclusive one-sided advocacy. No, it appeals to social, economic and global evolution, presenting the insurance sector as a protagonist or the first line of defence in the event of a crisis. We hold the conductor’s baton. We’re going to form the backbone of this needful, imminent juncture to, essentially, go back to the framework of protection and economic safeguarding that harks back to the very earliest days of insurance.

All of this, in my humble, possibly erroneous view, shall come together as a definite debut, at a time when, with full security, you have a person living through their most difficult days.



Lourdes Perlines González

Lourdes Perlines González

Director - Perlines-Consulting Insurance

Lourdes Perlines González is a founding member of Perlines-Consulting Insurance, a project focused on industry risk and claims. She has developed the MyBusinessExpert®contract, which seeks to unite the advantages conferred by holistic risk management and crisis management in connection with the design of insurance programmes tailored to each organization. Currently, she works with company Boards and Advisory Boards as a Risk, Claims and Insurance Advisor.