Coleman Marine Insurance gears up for summer season
You couldn’t make it more perfect. Coleman Marine Insurance Brokers’ MD is called Steve Risk. He’s not taking chances this summer though. Currently Coleman Marine is gearing itself up for peak season, and how to manage its way through the traditional busy period of claims as boaters return to the water.
One of the keys to making sure his business runs smoothly through the seasonal upsurge, says Risk, is optimising content.
“Making sure that relevant, comprehensive, easy-to-navigate content and resources is available to clients ahead of peak season has a dual benefit for us. It can minimise calls and emails regarding day-to-day queries about boating during the summer months and any insurance or risk management implications, while helping clients find the information they are looking for quickly and easily,” says Risk.
“Before peak season kicks off, we consider frequently asked questions, and include any relevant information within regular email updates we send to clients, offering relevant articles and advice – ranging from summer boat maintenance checklists, to the importance of boat owners reviewing their insurance cover before summer racing events – to ensure they are fully prepared for the season ahead.”
Major insurance claims, says Risk, typically include those related to weather, collisions with other craft, collisions with underwater objects, as well as fire incidents.
He says the claims types have largely remained unchanged during the pandemic. However, following a surge in boat sales in the UK over the past year, Risk says there could be a rise in collision claims as lockdown eases and more people take to the water over the summer, possibly involving new boaters with potentially limited experience.
Another issue which could lead to an increase in claims in coming months is that many owners will have found it almost impossible to keep their boats maintained as much as they would have liked, due to being unable to travel to their boats during lockdown. Even if owners have had the luxury of dry or indoor storage, issues may still have arisen while the boat has been out of action, which could result in costly repair bills and lengthy time out of the water.
“During the first lockdown in 2020, we received a high volume of queries from clients relating to Covid-19 and the insurance implications. Our dedicated resource centre on our website, which included a variety of relevant Covid-19 related articles, was something that our clients felt was a valuable source of information when navigating testing times.”
Those testing times have included staff working remotely.
“Entering peak season is always going to bring both opportunities and challenges for client-facing business in the boating sector. However, we’ve found that a continued emphasis on staying connected has been key to maintaining high levels of client service.”
“We’ve encouraged the use of video systems when interacting with our clients to ensure minimal disruption to normal service,” Risk says.
“Technology has also enabled our teams to stay connected. Team catch-ups are often conducted via video-conference, allowing important updates to be shared and ideas to be discussed in the way they usually would.
“Insurance is very much a relationship-based business, but technology is playing a huge part in enabling us to maintain important client contact while some members of staff are working remotely.” The company currently employs 20 people, many of whom are working from home, although returning to the office incrementally.
Like all of us, Risk is looking forward to the true easing of lockdown restrictions, but is pragmatic about what the company can learn from the past 18 months or so.
“Reviewing how we managed the increase in demand provides us with an opportunity for us to identify any learning and development needs, and, if required, invest in additional training for employees,” says Risk of last season’s covid-call surge. “Giving staff the opportunity to learn new skills or enhance existing ones may help colleagues to be better equipped to manage an increased workload.
“We’ve looked at addressing any client feedback to resolve any outstanding issues – taking into account, of course, that the summer of 2020 was different to other seasons.
“Ahead of the start of the season, we always make sure we outline what employees can expect. Keeping lines of communication open – including regular team check-ins – is something that we always make a priority, to ensure colleagues feel supported during busy times.
“We recognise the importance of rewarding employees for their work. As well as setting targets that reflect the busier periods, we make sure that we offer rewards to match, to demonstrate to colleagues that their hard work is appreciated – through a range of incentives including commission, bonuses and workplace perks – as well as simple ways of saying thank you, such as sharing positive feedback from clients at team meetings.
“Promoting the importance of a healthy work-life balance helps to ensure that our workforce are happy and working at maximum productivity.”