Gillett first joined the syndicate Liberty Mutual in 1995, being one of 10 selected to start the enterprise, becoming the head of claims in 1996. The business grew over several years and, in 2013, was a $1 billion plus syndicate, having seen considerable growth from its $40 million beginnings in 1995. In early 2018, the business announced the formation of its commercial, specialty and reinsurance arm ‘Global Risk Solutions’ which led to LSM broadening its geographical scope to over 60 offices in 20 countries. Gillett was given the role of leading a global team in excess of 200 people, that supports a portfolio that now has approximately $7 billion in annual income. It’s been quite a journey, he said.
Where claims was once seen as a back-office function separate from the other elements that make up a customer’s experience of the insurance process, now there is a growing understanding that claims must be built into the very heart of the entire insurance process. Yet lots of people still think of claims as the experience of having a claim, he said, while the reality is that it is much broader than that.
“So, at Liberty we are focused on being involved in all parts of the insurance value chain,” he said. “Even prior to underwriting a risk, claims will be involved. We have a number of areas where we can add value. We feel that through gaining knowledge and understanding of our client’s needs built through the relationship we have with them, if they’re in the unfortunate position of having a claim, the experience is better because all parties know who they’re dealing with and what the expectation is from both sides.”
Gillett is passionate about the role that claims plays in the insurance ecosystem and highlighted how claims is the very real face of the somewhat abstract concept that is insurance. Working in claims, you become very conscious of the fact that every decision has a consequence, he said, and that comes with feeling a high level of responsibility for the clients that you look after. This is what he enjoys most about working with LSM, as the business is committed to doing the right thing and has a proven reputation for paying valid claims while providing exceptional customer service.
Claims is not a separate entity from client service but rather integral to it, he said, which means at any point in the insurance journey an LSM client is not just dealing with an underwriter, or a risk engineer, or a claims professional, but rather with an integrated ecosystem that sustains information sharing. Gillett firmly believes that the way for insurance companies to differentiate client service is for a client to see a claims department not only as an area in which claims are managed but also one where broader relationships can be built.
Offering an example of the differentiated, value-add services LSM offers its clients, he highlighted its Claims+ approach which sees the firm utilise its experience and insight to the benefit of its clients. Claims+ provides workshops for trusted advisers, offering risk management and risk mitigation techniques that are designed to prevent clients from having a loss event. Through its claims scenario workshops, LSM walk risk managers through an actual loss scenario, with all the key experts in attendance to identify the challenges and obligations that come with a loss event.
“So we’ll do things such as post-mortem scenarios where we can review how a loss has impacted a business, and [look at] whether it could have been avoided, what impact it had, where the loss could have been mitigated, and we derive ‘loss lessons’ from that… And it’s so much better having those conversations before a loss rather than after a loss.
“The reality is that what clients and brokers want is consistency and continuity,” he said. “Working as an integrated business with communication around all its disciplines just creates a more aligned business. And in the virtual world we’re in at the moment one of the most difficult things we’ve had to do is find new ways to create those natural connections, because it’s those water-cooler conversations that are some of the most valuable you can have.”
The strong relationships and partnerships LSM has built have been integral to its ongoing success during the pandemic and the business has innovated to support its relationships through the creation of ‘Liberty Virtual Rooms’. The value add of both the insurer’s internal and external relationships is tangible, he said, and while the business hasn’t completed its journey it’s well on its way and he is excited about what the future will bring.
“I love dealing with claims,” Gillett said. “The fact that we’ve got a great team that can really effectively deal with anything that’s thrown at them, from the claims perspective, also gives me great pride. But I also love the fact that the knowledge that’s always been sitting within claims is now being tapped and used by the broader business. And I think that’s a really good place to be.”
Find out more about the differentiated claims experience offered by Liberty Specialty Markets here.