5 Minutes with Claims’ Julie Ames
With more than two decades’ experience in insurance under her belt, Claims Technician Julie Larter (née Ames) answers our questions about working alongside the One Broker Ambulance team. From reporting claims to the traits of a good claims professional, she gives some fascinating insights into her role.
When did you join One Broker?
I joined the business as a Claims Technician in April 2012, when it was KTIB.
Before I had kids, I used to work for a company called General Accident. I worked in their Claims team for 13 years. I left there in October 1996 and returned to the industry in 2012.
Do you exclusively handle ambulance claims?
No, I do other things as well. I handle haulage, commercial property, goods in transit… everything, really. That said, ambulance claims make up around 40% of my workload. It has increased over the years. As the number of clients we insure increases, so does my work!
Do you see any common ambulance claims?
The most common claims involve ambulances hitting parked vehicles or being hit while parked. We also see claims for reversing into posts, stationary objects and cars.
Also, you know the lift on the back of an ambulance for wheelchairs and beds? Sometimes people drive into it when it’s down, which results in a claim.
If an ambulance company needs to make an insurance claim, what should they do?
Talk to me straightaway. Don’t leave it for two or three days. Always talk to me on the day it happens if you can, especially if you’re at fault.
For instance, if an ambulance were to hit a taxi – be it a black cab or a normal private hire vehicle – those vehicles automatically go into hire or credit hire. Those claims can be up to £400 a day. If we can jump in and keep a tight rein on them we can keep the costs down.
How are your clients when they report a claim?
Although we deal with lots of claims, it’s often a new experience for the driver. They need to be talked through it. We tell them what to do: don’t panic, take photos, record as much info at the scene as possible. It’s important to get as much detail as we can while it’s fresh in the mind.
The claims form is really important at this point. They can jot down the information in a structured way just after the event. If the Claims team need to refer back to it, or if the case goes to court, we can see what they told me when it happened. Not many cases do go to court, I might add, but at least writing everything down and capturing it on day one means that everything is fresh in the mind and captured on paper.
Do you have strong relationships with insurers?
I do. We only deal with a few insurers on the ambulance side so we’ve built up a good rapport. They know that I deal with a lot of ambulance claims and they send things directly to me. They also know they need to get our clients’ vehicles back on the road quickly.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually start work at about 8am, so I log in and check to see if I’ve got anything urgent to chase up. I do that for about half an hour to make sure I’ve got everything up to date.
Then I’ll sort out any new claims that came in by email overnight. We need to get new claims reported directly to insurers really quickly.
After that, I work through my emails, starting with anything ambulance-related. It’s important to get an emergency vehicle back on the road again. It’s hard to hire a replacement ambulance, so it’s vital to get things done quickly.
How do you work with the wider One Broker Ambulance team?
We work well as a team and getting the best for the client is always our priority.
Do you need a specific personality type to work in claims?
You have to be strong-minded and sympathetic.
You need to be strong because you sometimes have to deliver bad news to clients; their vehicle’s written off; their insurers are offering them £7k and they want £20k and so on.
You have to be able to talk to them confidently because when they have a claim that’s probably the worst day of their life. No one thinks they’re going to be involved in an accident and when they are, their world turns upside down. You have to give them the confidence that you know what you’re doing to take the strain and stress away so they can get on with their day job.
You have to be sympathetic because there can be deaths when patients are involved. For instance, if a client has been to a 999 callout and treated a patient who died, or if they were involved in an accident while transporting a patient, resulting in injury. Again, with those sorts of claims, we have to know as soon as it happens.
What’s the best part of your role?
I enjoy dealing with ambulance claims – my role enables me to help people so that’s the best part for me. Even though the claims process is pretty much the same across the board, each claim is different and every client has their own needs so it’s important to be there for them.
They often say that the Claims team is the face of the company because clients come to us in their hour of need. We have to try and calm them, help them and, if we can, reassure them. That’s why people buy policies year after year – because of the claims service. If they receive a poor claims service, they’re not going to come back.
Find out more
If you'd like to learn more about insuring your ambulance, speak to a member of the One Broker Ambulance team today.
Bonfire Night Tips for Thatched Property Owners
If you own a thatched property, Bonfire Night may give you cause for concern. In this article, our team gives their pointers on how to prepare.
Behind the Scenes with HR’s Samantha Read
HR Manager Samantha Read tells us more about her role at One Broker, including the adaptations made during the Covid-19 pandemic.