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What a great conference! Well organised, with an excellent range of topics delivered by interesting speakers. Chris Ashworth, Chairman of I Love Claims Advisory Board, got the day off to a positive start by reflecting on the conference title ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and re-stating one of the key aims of I Love Claims: to create a forum in which the key stakeholders of the UK motor claims industry can come together to develop closer working relations. With plenty of opportunity to network during the event, this was certainly achieved.

Ian Hughes of Consumer Intelligence set our expectations high from the start and went on to describe how this should be an important aspect of our interaction with our customers. He explained the findings of a paper on Improving the Claims Experience, co-authored by Emily Knight. One of the key finding of this was that we must improve the way in which we keep customers informed about the progress of their claims and the speed in which their claims are settled.

On behalf of LD, Mark Savill reviewed the first year of the MOJ Portal, looking at the use of electronic processes for claims settlement, future developments and the application of technology in this area. Mark and his team have gathered an enormous amount of data over the last 12 months through LD’s use of the portal, particularly in relation to settlement times and values, which he shared with delegates. If you’d like more information on this, please contact Mark at [email protected]. For those who attended and would like to see the responses to the three questions posed by Mark, I have added them below:

1. Do you think the Portal is now providing benefit to your claims process?

2. Do you think that most of your claims processes will operate through electronic processes within 3 years?

3. Do you currently have the systems you need to support electronic process settlement?

Ian Thompson asked us to look back into the deep recesses of our minds as he challenged us to guess the sci-fi film. It was fascinating to follow the developments in technology over the last 20 years (although I share Ian’s disappointment that we’re still no closer to Hover Boards!). On a more serious note, the reality of a generation who are used to Facebooking while texting and listening to their iPods challenges us all to think of different ways to market our products and communicate with our customers. The technological advancements discussed by Ian give us the platform through which to achieve this and we must be progressive to retain our customers’ interest.

Following coffee, Andrew Walker of Thatcham delivered an informative talk on how the construction of cars and the subtle changes that are made to improve performance and safety can have a fundamental impact on the repair process. If you get the chance to visit Thatcham, it’s fascinating to see the work undertaken there.

Copart’s Sara Stainsbury and Nick Farrell looked at how their salvage business has been able to provide greater value and efficiencies to the motor claims market and talked about the need for greater co-operation in order to deliver further efficiencies during this difficult economic climate.

Taking us up to lunch, Rob Smale gave an insightful presentation looking at what he would do over the next 3-5 years if he owned a body shop and turning on its head the industry’s overwhelming desire to rely on KPIs as the measure of performance. He finished with a story that reminded us that the key to success is the people doing the work and not just the people driving the performance.

Lunch provided a great opportunity for networking and also allowed the BBC Panorama team, who’d been given permission to attend the conference, to speak to delegates. Panorama are filming a series about the rising cost of motor insurance and are following an 18 year old from Bolton, who has been unable to find affordable motor insurance. Trevor Still of LD (who has two teenage children himself) was asked for his thoughts on the rising cost of insurance premiums. We await with interest the programme, which is due to go out early in July.

The afternoon sessions began with Mike Brockman, MD of Insurethebox. He introduced us to the world of telematics – specifically to the ‘little black box’ that’s providing Insurethebox with a live data feed from vehicles being driven by their policyholders. The ability to react to an accident within minutes of it occurring creates all manner of opportunities and Mike shared with us some of the work that Insurethebox is doing to maximise these opportunities.

Phil Brailey, who is responsible for the management of international suppliers for Allianz, shared his global experiences with us, looking at some of the major cost differences between mature and developing markets.

And so to the final act. Chris Ashworth took on the challenge of discussing the somewhat controversial topic of referral fees. Polling the audience, he established that two-thirds of delegates either received or offered referral fees, so the question of an outright ban will indeed have a widespread impact, undoubtedly creating a dearth of differing opinions. His claim that it would be easier to solve global warming than resolve the issues around referral fees may well have a hint of truth to it.

All the presentations are available on the I Love Claims website. If you aren’t already a member, I urge you to sign up. It’s free to join and is a valuable forum through which to pick up information and exchange ideas.

We were thrilled to see so many colleagues during the course of the day. A big thank you to those who visited our stand and had their photograph taken with the LD Stig.

To see photographs of the day please visit our Facebook page.