New research suggests insurance claimants should be assisted by a financial adviser when dealing with life insurance companies.

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) has published the interim results of a study it commissioned from the Beddoes Institute.

The study has found that claimants who have a financial adviser have a much better experience with life insurance companies than is commonly assumed.

It found that income protection claimants’ satisfaction with insurance companies is about 80 per cent, with the strongest performing company achieving 85 per cent satisfaction.

Meanwhile, satisfaction among individuals who made a trauma or TPD claim is even higher at 84 per cent across participating companies with the highest performing company scoring 90 per cent on overall satisfaction.

The results from the ‘Life Insurance Industry Performance Barometer’, of which this study is just one part, will be used to inform the interim Claimants and Policyholders Consumers' Choice Awards and commendations to be announced next week - ahead of the full inaugural annual Consumers' Choice Awards in November.

“We encourage all life insurance companies to participate in the Life Insurance Industry Performance Barometer policyholder and claimant studies in order to reassure the community of their commitment to transparent and independent performance appraisal and continuous improvement in the service they provide to policy holders as the clients of financial advisers,” said Association of Financial Advisers Chief Executive Officer Brad Fox.

Beddoes Institute Director Dr Rebecca Sheils says the starting point is to build a large body of evidence about actual claimant’s experiences rather than focussing on the opinions of just a few.

“We need to use this data to really understand claimants’ needs at different stages of their journey so that life companies can develop tailored services and solutions that deliver better outcomes for people on claims. It's all about giving the consumer a voice and placing them at the centre of new and improved models of claims service delivery.”