19 Mar 2021
David Cooper, Service Lead, discusses 20 years in claims management and working for Cobalt
David joined Cobalt's sister company Coplus in February 2001. Over the last 20 years he’s developed a wealth of experience in motor insurance and claims handling. At the start of 2020 David took the opportunity to head up the new Cobalt operations team with its sights set on revolutionising the motor claims industry.
What is the achievement you are most proud of workwise?
My current role gives me a huge sense of achievement. Being part of setting up the service delivery for Cobalt is something new and exciting which is really satisfying.
When I first joined Coplus we provided FNOL and recovering Uninsured Losses for a small number of brokers. However over the years the expertise that the people here have developed, plus the understanding of the broker/insurer relationship and needs, has grown us to this new position.
It is a real credit to the people who are on the front line of delivering customer service and it makes me feel very proud to have a significant part to play in that.
From your experience with brokers, insurers and customers, what factors are most important when dealing with a motor claim?
In my experience all parties want a reliable company - a service provider whose people deliver a smooth, swift service, whilst ensuring they are kept informed of progress or changes.
That may sound simple but there are numerous factors to getting that right as well as other providers all looking to win the same business. That’s why our service is so important. Being able to deliver what you say you will do and getting things right first time, really does go a long way.
Cobalt operates 24/7, what challenges does this present for you as Service Leader and how do you overcome them?
Operating 24/7 is a real advantage and certainly helps give us the extra edge. We have significantly longer operating hours in which to help customers and third parties over other non 24/7 operations. Our aim is to provide the same high service levels out of hours and we invest time and effort into our people as it’s such an important role.
I spend a lot of time resource planning to ensure we have the right staff at the right times, listening to their needs and making sure they have the necessary training, support and guidance.
We’ve continued our 24/7 operation throughout the pandemic. All of our teams have been fantastic, in whatever role they are doing. They have been supportive and flexible with their hours where required, which means we were able to respond easily to changing driving patterns and claims reporting. Home working has certainly been vital in achieving this too and by retaining this capability we can have even greater flexibility and agility as we move forward.
Right first time is a Cobalt mantra. What does that mean for you and your team on day to day?
We strive to ensure we act as quickly as possible whilst providing a quality service and we set our KPIs around this. We monitor performance around SLAs for calls and notifications but it’s our ‘first call resolution’ approach which sets us apart. What that means is that our people, systems and processes are set up to ensure we obtain all details in our first contact, and we have the tools which allow us to make accurate claims decisions, such as identifying a total loss case, at the same time. It’s also about making sure these services stick whilst controlling the timeframes and cost, so absolutely the customer’s needs are paramount too. It’s not a rigid computer generated decision making process. That’s where the skill of our people really shines through, to ensure we understand the customer’s situation in order to do what’s right, and that’s how we achieve good retention.
How do you see the future of Cobalt shaping from an operational viewpoint?
Our technology and breadth of supply chain partners offer a real choice over what our competitors or indeed insurers themselves can provide. We are achieving significant savings for our insurer clients and getting really positive feedback. I can only see this growing! Plus the beauty of Cobalt is that we are supply chain agnostic – if a client comes to us and wants to use a particular supply partner, we make that work.
The personal injury reforms will be landing soon and that could result in more aggressive behaviour in credit hire and repair. It’s going to be even more important to get third party capture working well to prevent costs escalating. We are well placed to capitalise on the market changes, as we will always be the first to attempt to contact a third party post FNOL – in many cases, there is no time delay. There is also the question of how ready or willing insurers are to take on the extra claims from Litigants in Person – this is work that can easily be outsourced to Cobalt. There are definitely exciting times ahead!
How would you sum up Cobalt in a sentence?
An innovative, smart operation, driven by passionate and experienced staff, doing what is right for the customer and commercially good for our client.
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