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Living & property

Helvetia claims expert with celebrity experience

No one knows better than Peter Bärenfaller what it means to be personally affected by a claim. The Helvetia claims expert had to spend the night in the office during the great storm in Brig in 1993.

12 November 2016, text: Isabella Awad, photo: Michael Sieber

Helvetia claims expert Peter Bärenfaller experienced the great storm in Brig in 1993 up close.
Helvetia claims expert Peter Bärenfaller: “With the storm in Brig in 1993 we exceeded our entire ‘our programme for the year’ in one single day.”

“After 30 years’ experience in non-life insurance, I don’t lose focus that easily. The area I cover now is Upper Valais; there I deal with property damage – primarily water and fire damage. When I get notification of claims I get in touch with the customer straight away and organise an inspection as quickly as possible. Generally I deal with between five and ten claims at a time. Thanks to e-mail, occasionally I get a thank-you from customers. That really motivates me.

I particularly like the flexibility and autonomy of my job. I also find myself in some funny situations: in the Bernese Oberland I visited a homeowner who had 15 sheep stuck in his hallway. And only recently I dealt with a claim for water damage in a house belonging to Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who was one of the singers in Abba. It’s always rather special when you meet a celebrity.

One thing I can still remember vividly is the storm in Brig in 1993. Then we exceeded our entire ‘annual programme’ in one single day. I was right in the thick of it. Our offices were also under water – I couldn’t leave the building and had to spend the night in the office. The files piled up on my desk for months afterwards; it seemed like we’d never get through them. The work was very tough, and not only for us claims specialists.

In my job it is experience and trust that count above all. I also think it’s important to have local roots and networks – this way, I can support the customer, for example with the address of a reliable tradesman. Helvetia is a really great company.”

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