Contract certainty is an issue at the heart of customer service deficiencies on the part of brokers and insurers, according to the risk management community as represented by RIMS, the largest body of risk practitioners and commercial insurance buyers. RIMS is grateful to Superintendent Dinallo for taking the necessary steps to tackle the issue and hopes that providers will work speedily and aggressively to comply.
RIMS is eager to learn the next steps for the program, particularly how the New York Insurance Department intends to measure compliance and what penalties non-compliant companies can expect to face. RIMS expects that other state insurance offices will also take the initiative to reform the insurance placement process or, at the minimum, providers themselves will take steps to lead the process internally. The Society is prepared to offer guidance to those service providers seeking the buyer perspective as they are developing measures for meeting the contract certainty requirements. RIMS also urges an evaluation program whereby clients would provide feedback on whether providers meet, exceed or fall short of expectations.
RIMS Perspective: A History on Contract Certainty
For many years, risk professionals have voiced increasing concerns about the lack of responsiveness and quality of services offered by insurance providers. This prompted RIMS, in 2005, to develop a Quality Program to improve the service and delivery of insurance-related products to buyers.
Contract certainty is a core part of RIMS Quality Program. Among the tools developed to aid risk managers in the process are the Quality Guidelines for Performance Expectations—28 principles that focus on the main aspects of effective relationship—and insurance program-management. RIMS also launched a Quality Forum, an annual meeting convening risk practitioners and CEOs and other top executives from the largest brokers and insurers, to discuss quality improvement in the insurance placement process. Contract certainly has been at the forefront of the Forum's agenda for the past three years. The dialogue proved to advance providers' understanding of the issue from the buyer's perspective and even, in some cases, has allowed some companies to develop internal programs to expedite the insurance placement process. Currently, RIMS Quality Guidelines are being updated to a format that can be customized to each user's needs.
RIMS Quality Guidelines for Performance Expectations may be accessed at: http://www.rims.org/resources/QualityProgram/Documents/QIP_Guidelines_ONLINE.pdf. More information on RIMS Quality Program may be found at www.RIMS.org/Quality.