As the debate about Covid-19 claims continues, Nick Turner examines how the insurance sector can emerge from this crisis even stronger
My last president's letter concluded my focus on the four 'pillars of trust', ironically at a time that the profession is being challenged by claimants, lawyers, action groups, regulators and government bodies to interpret policy wordings in favour of the many desperate and frustrated policyholders who have suffered losses as a result of Covid-19. I aim not to become embroiled in the debate, which will rage damagingly
for some time, I fear.
Instead, I spoke with Jo Lumani, a highly experienced reputation expert, to get some insight into what steps we should follow to win back the hearts and minds of consumers and stakeholders.
Ms Lumani told me about the key things that make all the difference when things get tough.
Firstly, speed -- how fast you react to the environment is a key factor in maintaining trust. Customers under pressure will be trying to determine who they should be listening to and, most importantly, who to believe.
Being the first to share information, becoming a great source of information and ultimately showing you are in control, is vital to keeping trust high. With any newsworthy event, reacting quickly and keeping abreast of the ever-changing landscape will be fundamental.
Secondly, consistency -- keeping the 'golden narrative' of what we communicate with others. Key is having an awareness of all internal and external stakeholder groups and making sure the key messages flow through to all in a joined-up and aligned way -- from top to bottom.
Take this opportunity to underline your specialities and competence and give customers the reassurance that you are still there for them
The backbone of the golden narrative should always be built upon honesty and empathy -- people want to know that we care and understand their point of view.
Thirdly, stay true to your values -- even when you are under severe pressure. More and more research has shown us that customers sign up to businesses whose values resonate with their own, so they will be expecting you to act in a certain way, whatever the size of the challenge you face.
Last and certainly not least, is to remember the 'business as usual'. When the profession takes a knock, consumers will still expect normal service to continue. Take this opportunity to underline your specialities and competence and give customers the reassurance that you are still there for them.
All of which constitutes fabulous advice from Ms Lumani. A consistent, honest and value-driven approach will always win in the eyes of the customer. A profession that manages a crisis with this approach front of mind will dictate whether -- at the end of the tunnel -- it has a reputation to be proud of.
Nick Turner is president of the CII