Doing unto others

By Edward Vukovic - Digital Content and Communications Manager - ANZIIF | 20 Jan 2016
  • Claims
  • General Insurance
  • Insurance Broking
Ray_Grayscale

Trust. It’s described as difficult to earn but easy to lose. But what makes us trust people, companies, ourselves? Greek philosopher Epicurus said “It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.”  Epicurus believed that people were most content when they felt a sense of security that should things go wrong, their friends would be there to help. They trust them. Have confidence in them. 

It’s a philosophy that Ray Gichuru understands and applies to his role as Manager, Property and Motor at insurance claims specialist Proclaim.

“People need confidence that you are there to help them,” says Ray. “It’s important to remember that the person on the other end of the claim has suffered a loss and we need to find ways which allow us to provide the greatest benefit to them, in what will be one of the most trying times of their life.”

Ray believes it’s every claims manager’s role to instil that confidence in their customer. During his gap year, Ray got his break in insurance in 2010 at RAC WA after finishing a degree in applied science, and developed an appetite for the sense of satisfaction helping people provides.

“I returned to Melbourne in 2011 to study a Masters in Analytics but I also needed a job. Property formed a part of my studies and an opportunity came up in insurance that was property based,” he says. “While it was good timing in terms of getting a job, it was hectic due to the impact of the Queensland floods and storms in Melbourne.”

It was a baptism of fire — or water — and Ray quickly found himself inundated with flood and storm related claims. The intense nature of the role provided the perfect foundation for his career at Proclaim.

“I’d like to say I hit the ground running but in reality, I had to ask a lot of questions — to every person I could find — so I could learn as much as I could, as I was exposed to so many different scenarios I had no experience in,” says Ray. “I was suddenly dealing with a variety of insurers, each with a variety of products and had to manage liability claims, contract works claims, transport claims, mobile plans and so on. I learned very quickly that I had to be open-minded and couldn’t just rely on process and procedures because every claim is different.”

Ray believes that having an open-minded approach to claims provides limitless opportunities to help people and give them that level of confidence they need. He tells us there is no room for cynicism or dogma, as it prevents you from understanding the problem completely.

“Don’t be dogmatic in your approach to claims. Each claim has its own idiosyncrasies so you need to see things with fresh eyes to be able to help the customer,” says Ray.

Insurance, Ray tells us, allows him to look beyond the minutiae of life and see the bigger picture, see how connected life really is. And being able to see not only how things work, but how he can make them work, is why he loves doing what he does.

“It’s fascinating and fun,” says Ray. ”When you start out in life, you don’t really have that bigger picture. Your focus is narrow and immediate — paying your bills, paying the rent — but after a while you yearn for something deeper, something bigger. Insurance opens up the world to you.”

While the variety of his job is appealing, it is the human connection that satisfies Ray most.

“I love the fact that insurance is people driven,” he says. “Especially claims. It’s customer service and people — forget everything else. It’s helping people who’ve suffered a terrible loss. And it speaks to one of my core values of treating others as I want to be treated.”

“If I’m having an issue and need to talk to an insurance company, how would I like to be treated? In my job, you need to think about how you can make the process as simple and seamless for people as possible. It’s making sure every person is confident that they’ve been given the right advice and that they’ve not been short-changed,” adds Ray.

“It’s about having empathy, understanding people’s needs and then solving their problems. That’s what I love.“

 

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