Spotlight interview

Julie McAuley
Senior Claims Handler

Julie joined our Claims team at the beginning of the year as our Senior Claims Handler. She has been specialising in claims for 7 years and loves being part of our Claims team. Julie is passionate about helping our customers through what can sometimes be a difficult part of their lives when a loss has happened. In her free time, Julie likes to spend time walking her dog and one day would like to visit Canada.

We spoke to Julie to find out more about her career, her life and her aspirations…

How did you find joining us virtually during the second lockdown?

It was a bit of a surprise to see myself joining during lockdown but the experience couldn’t have gone better. Everything was arranged so quickly to allow me to start remotely and whilst it certainly had its challenges, more around my home Wi-Fi connectivity, it was a much better experience that I thought it was going to be. I felt really supported, different people from around the business were checking in with me daily and I had my first two weeks completely planned out for me to enable me virtually to meet lots of people around the business. It meant that when we returned to the office I didn’t feel like the newbie and I had actually met most of the team, albeit not in person! I honestly don’t think there is anything anyone could have done more to make the whole experience better.

What attracted you to come and work for ICCI?

I had been working as a Broker for a couple of years, liaising with clients so I had really good experience of handling a claim and liaising with the customers but then the claim would get handed over to the insurers and I wanted to be more involved with the decision making process. Prior to being a Broker, I had worked in insurance in the past and many years working in Health & Social Care. Having built up a relationship with the claims team at ICCI, from my role as a Claims Broker, I thought that ICCI was a good local company and a lot of the staff had worked there for a long time, so that for me was important. From dealing with other insurers, I liked the way ICCI did things: local company, local knowledge and providing the best claims service on the island for customers. I was very keen to have the opportunity to progress my career with ICCI and get more involved with handling customers claims, so grabbed the chance.

Describe your role to someone outside the company.

I am a Senior Claims Handler dealing with motor and household claims. I work as part of a team, dealing with a claim from the moment it is notified to us; working through everything that needs to be done. If we use motor as an example, I will handle the claim form as it comes in, see what we need to do, get estimates or appoint engineers to get the repairs authorised. I try to get things done as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on our customer. I will also deal with third-party insurers, if an accident is our policyholders fault or we are not at fault and we are looking to hold another party responsible. From a household claim perspective, it depends on the claim really. There is lots of liaising with the brokers to ensure we have all the information we need to settle the claim and I am likely to be liaising with and appointing loss adjusters, so it can be really varied. You never really know what the next email is going to bring in and what is going to be on the next claim form which gives variety to my role. Being a claims handler is a bit like being a detective – you get a little bit of the puzzle when it first comes in but you know there is a lot more information you need to find to handle the claim. Having experienced being a broker and now working for the insurance company, I know what kind of questions the customer is going to ask the broker, which helps me get the right information to the broker initially to help speed up the claims handling process.

What do you love most about your job?

I love helping people. As I mentioned, I previously worked in a health and social care role for quite a number of years but my opportunities were limited and I felt I had done everything I could really do without being able to progress further. So my role here at ICCI enables me to have good progression opportunities for myself, which is one of the reasons I really wanted to come and work here, but I also still feel like I am helping people day to day. Some of the claims can be really stressful and they can be really difficult for people do deal with. It could be your car or your house, things that you really value, and when it goes wrong you just want people to help you and make the process as painless as possible and get the best outcome for our customers, which is what our claims team strive to do each day.

What is your favourite part about working for ICCI?

My favourite part of working for ICCI is the team. The whole company has a really good feel about it, and everyone is really friendly and approachable. I am comparing ICCI to all other places I have worked in over the years, some office based, some care roles etc, it’s a great place to work. We are all supported here, even if we are doing different roles, we all have the same goal and support each other in different ways. It has been a great move for me and I am really pleased I seized the opportunity to come and work here.

What does customer service mean to you?

Speed, efficiency but with a personal touch. I really see the value that we give as a local company, dealing with our customers. We know the kind of problems our customers will face; we can get things dealt with really quickly and I think this is key to good customer service. Being local makes us more accessible, even though our customers may go through brokers, they can get something to us and it will be dealt with really quickly, rather than having a delay by having to go through a call centre before they get to speak to someone.

How do you strive to deliver for our customers and clients?

Making sure we do things as quickly and efficiently as we can. Making sure we get the information we need as quickly as possible from brokers to allow us to deal with the claim. We just try to make it an easy process for the customer, so that it is one less thing to worry about for the customer and give them that reassurance that their claim is being dealt with as fast as possible.

What do you believe makes our Claims service industry leading in the Channel Islands?

Our turnaround is really quick and again that is a lot to do with the fact that we are local insurers who know the island. If it is a serious claim, we have local loss adjusters that can be on site that day to assess the situation, meet with the customers and put their minds at rest. I think it is always at the beginning when something bad has happened, especially if customers haven’t claimed before, they are the most stressed and worried and don’t know what to do and we take many steps to help people. I know from dealing with different insurers as a broker that this is where ICCI stood out and that was what mattered the most to people, getting the reassurance that they were in safe hands right from the start of claim. If a customer says I don’t know where to go, what do I do - local knowledge makes us stand out against other UK insurers too because we know and deal with many of the local businesses. If you are speaking to someone who doesn’t even know where the Channel Islands are, it would be a much harder and frustrating experience for customers making a claim. We are local which makes our claims service stand out above all others for speed, efficiency and being able to provide that personal touch in their hour of need.

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do – how does our claims team strive to improve the customer journey?

The claims team meet regularly, and we are always looking at ways we can streamline our service. We are always asking ourselves if there is anything we could do to make it easier for the customer, easier for the broker and ultimately easier for us. We have a Fast Track claims service, which means that we can have a 48-hour turnaround for less complicated claims. As long as the customer has completed all the details, we can fast track a claim, for example like a mobile phone claim. Everybody needs their phones and nobody wants to be without a phone for a long period of time, so that’s really reassuring for customers and a really good service that we can offer. This enables us to deal with customers with more difficult claims, whilst the customer had the outcome they wanted with the Fast Track service. Having worked for a broker and seen it from both sides, the team have welcomed my experience, so I have been able to provide a lot of input and insight into new ideas.

If you had one piece of advice for someone considering a career in insurance what would it be?

Go for it. There are loads of different angles to work in insurance: claims, underwriting etc. It’s a really good career if you are looking to progress and gain qualifications and develop your own future.

When you are not in the office, what do you like doing?

I love walking my dog around the cliffs of Guernsey and being outside. I also love spending time with family and friends.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing your role at ICCI?

I feel like I’m really lucky as I am honestly in my ideal job. I love helping people and this gives me the chance to do that and have career development as well. However, if ‘Florence & The Machine’ were ever to go on tour and needed a drummer, I would be quite happy to do that!!

What’s on your bucket list that you haven’t had a chance to complete yet?

To finish my Cert CII by the end of November. Pass my driving test, which I hopefully will do in about 6 weeks’ time! Finalise the purchase of our new house and we would really love to visit Canada.

What inspires you? Both in your career and your personal aspirations

To always keep moving forward and not settle in your comfort zone. There is no set limit when you should do things by and I love challenging myself.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I started to learn to play the drums about 6 years ago. As a teenager, it was always something I really wanted to do, and I find it really therapeutic.

What is your favourite inspirational quote and why?

When I was learning the drums I saw the quote “if it matters you will find a way, if it doesn’t you will find an excuse”, which I think applies to all areas in life.