In Focus: Vulnerability  

How you can help root out 'the rogues'


Follow the lead and hold people to account: this is one of the ways in which protection professionals can help root out rogue players and insurance scammers.

Speaking on the latest FTAdviser In Focus podcast, Kathryn Knowles, managing director of Cura Financial Services, and Steve Casey, marketing director for Square Health, both spoke of how they had been targeted during the pandemic.

"Insurance ads have boomed across all social media platforms during the pandemic," Knowles said. "Many targeted me specifically – as a woman in her 30s and a mother."

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Casey agreed: "I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum to Kathryn, but I have been called nearly every week with calls offering me whole-of-life insurance."

Also joining the podcast was Alain Desmier, founder of Contact State, which is pushing for verification of all insurance leads so the end user knows exactly who has their data, and for what purpose.

"I want to see insurance – well, the whole of financial services – move towards an idea of certification. For far too long, people get a phone call out of the blue, wanting to review their life insurance.

"This is just wrong. Insurers and underwriters should have the same level of due diligence as to where a consumer has come from as there is when you buy a house and can see the whole history."

Desmier added: "If you haven't got full permission, you shouldn't sell the insurance policy."

But until this becomes the default position for all leads, true insurance professionals need to do more to raise awareness of shoddy or downright fraudulent practice.

"We need to shout out and raise questions around things we do not like," Desmier said.

But the panel said more needed to be done, and fast, to root out bad practice.

Knowles said: "I've had a couple of clients where they have spoken to a lead generation firm, claiming they could get a policy straight through online. I went through their medical history and knew immediately this would not have been possible.

"It was clearly non-disclosure on the adviser's part. It comes down to bad practice."

Casey added it was good practice to check out any unsolicited call numbers by checking sites such as 'Who called me?' and to add comments to help anyone else searching. Asking the caller for their FCA number could also help, he said.

"This sort of thing should raise red flags," he added. "To the good, old-fashioned man on the Clapham Omnibus, these sort of adverts and their claims might seem authentic."

If nothing is done, then trust in the whole industry is damaged – and that does nothing to help protect consumers who need vital insurance, the panel agreed.

To listen to the full podcast, click on the link in the image above.