James Moorhouse shares the CII’s New Generation Group’s wisdom on ways to better educate consumers
The last 18 months have reminded us about the challenges of maintaining public trust. UK insurers took part in a test case on business interruption claims organised by the regulator, which was unique in its speed and comprehensiveness, yet the headlines that were generated were often savagely negative.
For example, Anthony Hilton in the Evening Standard wrote: “Business spends a massive amount on insurance to guard it against risks; and coronavirus is as big a disaster as there has been in a generation. But there is very little cover. The utter failure of boards to demand the right insurance and the even greater failure of insurers and insurance brokers to supply it is a scandal.”
Similarly, the travel insurance sector as a whole has an excellent track record of customer satisfaction when it comes to claims and yet, during lockdown, airlines that were liable to pay compensation for cancelled flights were telling their customers to claim the compensation from their insurer instead, meaning the reputation of travel insurers for service standards for claims was damaged.
So, it is extremely timely that the CII’s New Generation Broking Group for 2018 to 2019 has published a report that sets out practical steps for increasing trust.
It argues that insurance brokers should build on existing good practice by educating consumers about the products and services available, with the New Generation Group offering the following recommendations:
- Educate your clients on the products you are selling them, so that they understand why they need to purchase a particular product or level of cover and create supporting material for this.
- Remove the focus of your conversations from price and start with value.
- Be honest with your client about what you can and cannot do, so that you always deliver on your promises.
- Consider how you can show loyalty to your customers, how SMEs can become more confident in what they are buying, and how they can trust that claims will be paid.
- Understand your customer and identify their needs.
The New Generation group, made up of rising stars from the broking profession, warns that this action is vital to tackle the increased risk of policies being voided, cancelled, claims only partially paid, not paid at all, or previous payments even being recalled.
Service is critical to building trust. This means adding the personal touch – building relationships and making contact with consumers – which should be supported by technology to understand their needs and deliver adequate solutions
Natasha Hookings, a member of the New Generation Broking Group, says: “Service is critical to building trust. This means adding the personal touch – building relationships and making contact with consumers – which should be supported by technology to understand their needs and deliver adequate solutions.
“The market must evolve technology so that an excellent service can be delivered. Both people and technology are key, as systems must work efficiently and break down data to help us better understand our customers’ needs.
“On this basis, innovative products, such as telematics and apps that help customers manage their policies, should be more widespread across the sector.”
Each year, the CII seeks rising stars to join the professional body’s flagship talent programme, the New Generation Group.
The group is made up of 40 promising professionals split into four groups – claims, underwriting, broking and the London market – who work together on a project they believe could make a difference to the insurance profession.
Matthew Connell, director of policy and public affairs of the CII, says: “We cannot anticipate all risks and even where we can predict a risk, we cannot always see how it will play out in practice. Everyone knew a global pandemic was a possibility, but it was very hard for people to see in advance that national and even global lockdowns would be the best way to control the disease, with all the economic consequences this brought along with it.
“In these circumstances, it is only through strong relationships with the client that we can help them become aware of uninsurable risks and encourage them to develop a holistic risk plan. By focusing on relationships, communication and service, this report – by practitioners for practitioners – sets the foundation for a more resilient society in future.”
James Moorhouse is content manager of the CII
Image credit | Shutterstock
Key practical steps relating to specific issues identified by the report are:
- Start a ‘positive press’ initiative and talk to the public about the good that comes from the insurance sector. A public press campaign can educate the public on insurance and its importance, starting with posters on public transport. The ‘London Makes it Possible’ campaign does this online – could we bring this to other forms of media too?
- Embrace technology – see where you can use this to add value to your clients and stay up to date.
- Expand your knowledge using qualifications, learning and development, and wider reading/listening.
- Create innovative ideas for better customer experiences.
- Work together as a sector to eliminate issues like dual pricing, without the need for regulators to step in.
- Simplify documentation for clients, without losing the necessary information.