As a Co-operators client, you have access to a little-known tool called the Service Review Panel (SRP). In 1990, we launched the SRP to help resolve client complaints. Today, we’re still the only insurer in Canada to offer this one-of-a-kind service – run by clients, for clients.
While we aim to exceed client expectations every time and take many steps to resolve any complaints, sometimes client concerns need another set of eyes. You can depend on the SRP to hear you out. Made up of volunteer clients from across Canada – people just like you – the panel meets four times per year. They aren’t insurance experts, so they bring fresh eyes and open minds to find fair solutions.
How it works, in the words of clients
Co-operators clients for more than 40 years, Henry and Linda Armstrong of Woodslee, ON, looked to the SRP to reconsider a claims decision.
On Feb. 14, 2015, the Armstrong’s house caught fire. Fortunately, everyone was safe and their home insurance covered the damage – except one part: a new septic system.
“We felt the septic system claim should be covered under our insurance policy,” shared Henry.
After seeking helpful guidance from their advisor, claims adjuster and other staff to try and resolve their concern, the couple was told about the SRP. The Armstrongs gathered the necessary documents and “submitted a big stack of papers to the panel,” said Henry. Then they waited.
Worth the wait: A positive outcome
Fortunately for the Armstrongs, the SRP overturned the original claims decision: “A few weeks [after the SRP meeting], we got notice that they agreed to reimburse us for the upgrade to a new septic system. In our case, it worked out in our favour, and we are very pleased,” said Linda.
While not every decision gets overturned like the Armstrongs’, the passionate volunteer panelists ensure that every case is reviewed in depth and resolved as fairly as possible.
“Ten days before we meet, we receive cases to review,” said Margaret Johnston, 3-year panelist. “Each case has two stories: one is the client’s perspective and [supporting] documents, and the other is from the company or claims team.”
“We look at every single case individually, and decide based on its merit. It’s a very active discussion in the room! We all come with different perspectives, but at the end of the day, we always manage to come to consensus on the right decision,” shared Margaret.
After 10 years on the panel, “I can honestly say every decision we make is fair: We don’t work for The Co-operators, so we are independent in terms of our decision making and authorized to modify decisions made by the company if needed,” said Alaric Woodrow, SRP Chairperson.
While one case can take 15 minutes to resolve, others take more than an hour. The SRP may decide to overturn the company’s decision, uphold the decision, or something in between. Every once in a while, the panel asks for more information before making a final call, or recommends changes to how we deal with similar cases in the future.
For the Armstrong family, they’re delighted with the outcome.
“The people we dealt with from agents to claims adjusters, they all helped us walk through this together,” said Linda. “Togetherness is what makes a company. Making sure the client is satisfied – that’s how you keep clients, and that’s why we’re still here.”
The panelists agree, and think there’s lots of value in it for clients:
How to make an SRP submission
There are many checks and balances in place to resolve client concerns long before the SRP is suggested. As well, there are certain criteria and thresholds that must be met for consideration by the panel; in particular, the SRP will only review cases with claims below $30,000. If taking an issue to the SRP is the next best step, a written application is submitted for review.
The SRP Chairperson advises clients of the panel’s decision two to three weeks after the meeting, with a clear explanation of why the decision was made. If the panel decides in favour of a client, The Co-operators is bound by the decision and will happily oblige. There’s zero risk to the client: the outcome will either stay the same, or change for the better.