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CED regroups: from loss adjuster to value manager

As risk carriers, insurers and claims experts we have always tended to think in terms of loss. But a shrinking market means that it’s high time for a rethink, says Hans Coffeng, CEO of the CED Group. “Thinking in terms of loss is old hat, it’s about managing value.” But what does that actually mean?

In the personal injury world, it is an all too familiar phenomenon: someone sustains a whiplash injury and this causes upheaval to his or her personal and professional lives. Often lengthy discussions then ensue about the magnitude of the injury sustained. “A classic example of how not to do it”, Hans Coffeng believes. “You get bogged down in a wrangle about money, while everyone knows that it should actually be about something else - how to help someone to rebuild his or her life”. Many parties now take more of a ‘restorative’ approach and Coffeng believes there is a lesson here for the entire industry. “Insurers, self-insurers, claims managers, repair companies … we all have our own angle, but traditionally we have always thought in terms of loss, even though it is actually much more logical to think in terms of value. You do that at home too; you want to preserve the things that are valuable to you, for example, a nice home, your health, the freedom to move around when and where you wish.”

Thinking in terms of value

What would this actually mean? “It would require companies to redefine what our sector actually stands for; is our primary role to quantify risks, assess losses and to compensate or repair? In my view, we must extend this further still. We are there to help people to preserve value. As soon as that value is compromised, the different roles in our organization allow us to immediately make a move; we could perhaps even make that move before the value is compromised. Technology presents us with many opportunities to be a step ahead of loss, which makes prevention even more important. Over time this could perhaps even become our core business.”

From the slow lane to growth market

Ideally, people have a genuine interest in helping you. But Coffeng emphasizes that it is also simply a question of corporate survival. “Losses have been on the decline for years. The combination of big data and the Internet of Things will reinforce that trend. Continuing to think in terms of loss means that you will remain clinging to a shrinking market and miss out on opportunities. Whether you are an insurer, a vehicle fleet manager or property lessor, thinking in terms of value opens up every door to new business models.”

Restoring value after earthquake damage

CED is a partner in the Centrum Veilig Wonen, or CVW, an organisation that has been set up to handle claims resulting from earthquakes and to inspect, and if necessary reinforce, homes and other buildings in Groningen. In this way CED aims to contribute to a safer Groningen and make the difference in the lives of its people.

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