Protection  

ABI under fire for failing to push protection dashboard

ABI under fire for failing to push protection dashboard

The Association of British Insurers has come under fire for failing to introduce standards for the protection industry, in line with those being brought in for pensions.

In May, the ABI, along with providers, stated the dashboard should be a centralised system that providers could put on their website under their own branding.

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Finance and Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna accused the trade body of choking off things that are in customers’ interests.

“They are a protectionist trade body that puts the interests of their members way ahead of the consumer, and as such, is no longer fit for purpose,” he commented.

“Take for example the proposals they have put forward for the pension dashboard. These are the equivalent of saying ‘let’s build a bicycle’ when you have a BMW sitting outside.

“Their proposals make perfect sense, if the internet didn't exist and smart phones hadn't been invented.”

Mr McKenna argued as a Fintech leader, the UK already has plenty of suppliers to deliver a pensions and protection dashboard, which would help consumers better understand the cover they have, both individually and provided by their employer.

He said: “For too long the protection industry has been the poor relation of the savings industry when it comes to delivering good customer data.

“A decade ago pension and savings providers put in place mechanisms to make the values of investments available online. The same work was done for protection, but life insurers failed to adopt it.

“We have seen overwhelming demand from protection advisers for delivering a better customer experience but insurers continuously cite legacy systems as an excuse for doing nothing,” he added.

Protection advisers have also taken aim at the ABI for not implementing industry standards for the publication of policy statements.

Roy McLoughlin, partner at protection specialists Master Adviser, said he was “astounded” the ABI did not encourage the majority of providers to at least send annual statements out to policyholders.

“There is a fear people might use them to go on comparison sites and try to find a better deal, but I think overwhelmingly people would top up, rather than shop around and leave.

“People simply forget what they’ve got and often that means cover becomes inadequate,” he stated, adding: “Surely this is a Treating Customers Fairly situation?”

An ABI spokesperson responded the issue of making sure consumers were aware of the protection policies they had in place and the benefits the schemes offered was not one that providers had raised with the trade body.

“Individual providers make commercial decisions about how to best communicate with their customers on their protection insurance policies,” they added.