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Lockdown Life: Sophie Bengeyfield

No two days are ever the same, says Claims Technician Sophie Bengeyfield. In this instalment of Lockdown Life, she explains how her routine has changed and why her freezer is her best friend!

8.15: Wake up.
My cocker spaniel, Winston, acts as my alarm clock. I get up and take him out into the garden.

Winston spaniel

I have much more time in the mornings right now. I live in St Ives, between Cambridge and Huntingdon and used to go out at 8:10 so I’m getting a proper lay-in at the moment!

8:30: Kettle on.
I make a cup of tea… Then I make a second cup of tea!

Once I’m caffeinated, I start getting ready for work.

I’m more relaxed when I get to my desk during lockdown because I don’t have to contend with the traffic. Plus, Winston’s more relaxed because he isn’t waiting for me to leave the house.

8:45: Check emails.
I like to log in a bit early and check my emails. I want to see if there’s anything urgent that I need to start on at 9. It means I can get on top of my emails and prioritise before the working day really begins.

9:00: Process new claims.
I set up new claims in the system before doing anything else. It means I can ask questions and get clarification right away. I find that clients are reassured by a swift response and it kick starts the whole process.

10.30: Make tea and stretch.
My biggest lesson from the lockdown? Take breaks when you’re working from home.

I started getting migraines during the first week of lockdown because of the glare of my computer screen, incorrect desk height and not taking eye breaks. I wasn’t getting up and making drinks for the team so I wasn’t walking away from my desk.

10:40: Reviewing existing claims.
After moving around, I look at existing claims, handling the most urgent first. If there’s a break-in, for instance, I need to get someone out to secure the front door.

Read more: Lockdown Life - Phil Smith

12:00: Client call.
I help a client who is confused by her claim. I call to explain what’s going to happen and give her my direct dial so she can call me if she needs more help.

It’s stressful to make a claim at the best of times, but it’s even more so now. For many people, money is tight and they’re distracted, so the process feels more stressful. As a result, I’m keen to do whatever I can to help. I answer questions and queries as quickly and clearly as possible to minimise anxiety and disruption.

13:00: Lunch.
Thankfully I have lots of quick lunch options and take something out of the freezer.

As it’s not advisable for me to go to the supermarket and delivery slots are like gold dust, I’ve been planning my meals in advance. I recently managed to get hold of one and ordered three weeks’ worth of food so I don’t have to do it again for a while. I spent the whole weekend blanching potatoes ready for future meals. I’m a domestic goddess now and my freezer is my best friend!

13:45: Take Winston for a walk.
Winston is great at reminding me to get up and move about. If I work for too long, he comes and brings me his lead! We just go around the block to stretch his legs.

14:00: Follow-up diary entries.
I put entries in my diary for claims that are already in the system and awaiting further action. It might be that I’m waiting on an invoice or a response from an insurer, so I schedule follow-ups in my diary.

Motor claims used to take up a large proportion of my time but because people are driving less, there are fewer car insurance claims to process. There are, however, plenty of property claims to deal with.

There were some severe storms earlier in the year and we’re seeing those get stuck in the system. Contractors aren’t able to go out to fix damage, so claims aren’t being settled.

Wherever we can, we try to find a workaround. In many cases, we have delegated claims authority so we can make decisions about how things are handled, rather than referring back to the insurer. For instance, if there are increased costs because an alternative contractor has to be appointed, we can reassess the claim based on individual circumstances.

16:00: Follow up on a keyworker claim.
I receive a claim from a key worker who needs a contractor to fix an issue at home. The original contractor is not available so we have to consider a quote from another contractor. I review the case and agree that the work can go ahead.

We want to provide value and minimise disruption. Customers always come first. We’re very personal and take the time to get the best outcome because we actually care – we don’t just say we do.

17:15: Work out.
The claim takes a bit longer to process than I expected, so I finish work a little late. If it’s urgent, I carry on working because I’m not doing much else!

I used to go to the gym a lot, but now I can’t. I’m missing exercise and tried to order some weights online but struggled to find some. Instead, I bought Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch, which is keeping me fit. I have always been a dancer so I’m enjoying it.

While I do this, my partner takes Winston out for another walk to make sure he’s had enough exercise for the day.

18:00: Dinner.
I head to the freezer to find some food I prepared at the weekend. I like the convenience, but I’m not sure I’ll carry on when the lockdown is over!

I knit while I watch TV. I learned in sixth form and picked it up during lockdown because I wanted to feel productive. I’ve got a couple of relatives expecting babies soon, so I’ve been making things for them; I’ve knitted a baby hat, an elephant toy, a replica of my dog and a rainbow!

Knitted Rainbow

While my knitting needles clatter away, I watch an episode of The Hundred on Amazon Prime. It’s set in the future and people are living in space. After that, I switch to Benidorm on Netflix; it’s so funny and just what I need.

22:00: Bedtime.
I like to get an early night, so I’m ready for the next day. I’m getting more sleep than I ever have before!


Read more: Lockdown Life - Mark Ling

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