Legal and General  

Industry accused of creating 'exclusive wealth'

Industry accused of creating 'exclusive wealth'

The UK has underinvested in people on a 'huge scale' over the last few years, resulting in political fragmentation, the group’s chief executive has said.

Speaking at Legal & General's 8th Annual Business Quality Awards in London yesterday (8 February), Nigel Wilson told attendees: "We've created exclusive wealth and not inclusive capitalism.

"As a consequence of that, we've created all this political fragmentation and uncertainty which is now having an impact on business – this is the exact opposite of what we want.

"Mass investment – to try and deliver inclusive capitalism to bring everybody's lifestyle up – isn't really happening because of the political unrest caused by the underinvestment in the first place: it’s a catch-22 situation."

He continued: "As a consequence, we know our industry has huge societal gaps to fill – huge opportunities to do more.

"We believe the UK remains a great place to invest and we will continue to invest in all of our businesses in a material and substantial way."

He added: "In this time of austerity, we should be celebrating success."

Similarly, Bernie Hickman, chief executive of Legal & General Insurance, said it was important to recognise firms that have done the most to get good customer outcomes.

He said: “When it comes to life insurance and life protection, you still need people to make a difference and make that sale in person because, without you, our vast majority of products wouldn't be sold.

"Technology isn't about replacing people, it's about augmenting people, and AI doesn't stand for artificial intelligence, it stands for augmented intelligence – it’s there to help people.

"So we are determined to use the latest tech in the best possible way for the benefit of our customers, and for our partners, and that's what we're doing all over the place.

He added: "Technology – it's a threat to everyone but we choose to see it as an opportunity."

The annual awards recognise intermediaries who have demonstrated an exceptional standard of customer service and retention of protection business.

Among some of the winners were Wesleyan, which won the Outstanding Performance award for the second year running.

Delvir Sanghera, panel manager at Wesleyan, said: "This win is a testament to our commitment in putting our customers at the heart of everything we do, providing consistently excellent service and always going that extra mile to achieve the best possible outcomes."

In terms of customer excellence, the best network went to Openwork while the best firm went to ActiveQuote.

Paul Shearman, mortgage, protection and GI proposition director at Openwork said: "Advisers and their customers are essential to everything we do and winning this award has given us a real desire to achieve and consistently strive for the best service possible."

Phil Nash, product development manager at ActiveQuote added: "Our advisers work tirelessly to ensure they have the knowledge to advise our customers and arrange their often-complex protection needs."