DVS head stresses the importance of co-operation between companies and brokers to improve the claims process at the DVS Symposium 2013

Hans-Jurgen Allerdissen

DVS head Hans-Jürgen Allerdissen believes that smaller and medium-sized companies are becoming more and more at a disadvantage when it comes to claims handling. “In claims handling there is more room to manouevre from a strong position,” he said at the opening of the symposium on Wednesday. This means that “in the normal case, the stronger one wins”. Because of long-drawn-out handling about compensation payments, medium-sized and small companies are worried about their existence, and have to accept compromises. “Then it is sometimes better for them to accept a settlement rather than negotiating up to the last moment,” he said.

This is a consequence of the high pressure on prices by insurers and the increasing out-sourcing of claims handling to separate companies, Allerdissen believes. In addition, the reform of the insurance law VVG plays an important role. “The ‘all or nothing’ principle in case of a claim has been replaced by the proportional compensation in disputed cases or in cases of contributory fault or of presumed negligence”, he said

The out-sourcing of claims handling is a wrong development, he said. Allerdissen: “I believe that precisely in or market segment of industrial insurance, the insurer will have medium and long term advantages which will keep their core business of ‘claims handling’ in direct organisational link with another core business, that of ‘underwriting’.” In the case of a claim, it is sometimes necessary that the claims handler, the underwriter and the client together clarify what had in fact been agreed when the policy wording was set down, according to Allerdissen.

On the other hand, Allerdissen stressed his interest in co-operation with companies and brokers. He is prepared to join coalitions with all sides of the market in order find solutions to problems.

So a recent, lesser-known decision of the federal financial court regarding taxation of management commissions could lead to a rise in the total premium to be paid by the insured company. There is a joint interest of market participants in having some influence on this new development, said Allerdissen. “I can well imagine that both the insurance industry and also the insured company, but also the brokers - perhaps separately at first - should talk to each other about whether and how one should move here.”

The dialogue is also important in order to develop tailored insurance solutions for relatively new risks, such as cyber risks. “It is more than ever important to look for solutions together with the other side of the market,” said Allerdissen. Since framework conditions change continually, the industrial insurance market is threatened with marginalisation if there is no innovation.