The team around you: Towergate Northamptonshire claims team & Joanne Dickens FCII

Joanne Dickens, Claims Handler  at Towergate
Joanne Dickens, Claims Handler at Towergate

Towergate Northamptonshire prides itself in having two dedicated claims teams ensuring our clients get the best support when they need it most.

Joanne Dickens has over 35 years experience in the insurance industry having worked in underwriting, broking and now claims. This breadth of experience is of enormous benefit to Towergate clients when it comes to dealing with claims matters. Joanne shares her thoughts on the industry.

What are the common misconceptions of a claims role in broking and how does your role differ to this?

Most people think a broker’s claims department is a ‘postbox’ of claims administration, but we provide so much more. A claim can easily place a business in crisis and we support and guide our clients through this difficult and stressful process; liaising with insurers, third parties, adjustors and solicitors. Most importantly, we work in our clients’ interest, not the insurers’, to achieve the best possible outcome.

Where do you believe you add real value to customers?

We become involved and advise from the outset assisting clients during this sensitive time. My clients trust me to do what I do best- achieve the best possible claims outcomes so they can continue with what they do best- running their businesses.

What do you enjoy most about your role and your contribution to Towergate Northamptonshire?

I enjoy solving people’s problems, analysing the facts and understanding the impact on a client’s business. Every day is different as every claim is different. One interesting aspect is accompanying site visits to represent clients to ensure they get the fairest settlement.

What three traits would your colleagues say you have?

Trustworthy, Adaptable, Tenacious…I am known as the terrier of the office!

You are our most qualified member of staff. How do you think this helps in your day to day role?

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (FCII) and have a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management (PG DIP HRM). My qualifications combined with industry experience greatly assist when dealing with insurers and loss adjustors.

Do you see your role becoming more difficult or more challenging?

Simply- yes. Insurance companies are losing experienced staff and we are often faced with a knowledge gap. I regularly challenge the interpretation of policy wordings; I can only imagine the general public’s difficulty with insurer wordings and consequentially, the perception of the industry. We also deal with numerous classes of general insurance, which leads to my personal challenge of maintaining my knowledge in line with the CPD requirements.

‘Insurers take your money and don't want to pay’ is a common criticism. Your thoughts?

Unfortunately, this often appears to be the case, but that simply provides me with a bigger challenge to overcome. For example, we recently overturned an insurer’s decision not to provide indemnity following theft by fraudulent means by challenging definitions within their policy wording. Without our argument, the claim would not have been paid. I think this also shows the importance of using an advisory broker who provides such service and arranges the correct cover in the first instance.

If you have any questions relating to commercial insurance placement, please contact Sian Cassie on 01604 887363 or email