In Focus: Vulnerability  

Consumers need better insurance experience, experts warn

Consumers need better insurance experience, experts warn
Julia Cameron via Pexels

Protection conversations are an obligation but brokers and providers need to make the process simple, transparent and easier for customers, a panel has said.

Speaking as part of a session at the virtual ProtectX2021 conference, David Mead, founder of Future Proof, said it was vital to keep the message clear, transparent and simple when it comes to having protection conversations.

He said: "The message needs to be firmer with advisers, rather than consumers. We need to be sensitive about how we message to consumers, although of course people will be more sensitive to their own fragilities over the past 12 months since Covid-19 started."

Mead also suggested advisers who are not confident about selling protection could create a business relationship with a broker that is a specialist in the area, to make sure that referrals are in the client's best interest.

However, he said there was a need for building on the technological developments to help reach more clients and make the process more streamlined.

Emma Thomson, founder of Women in Protection, said: "Some of this is stuff we have been banging on about for years. There is still so much reliance on paper.

"We need to use technology better, such as adopting e-signatures; improving the trust issue; speaking with more clients using video conferencing. 

"I think it will be more important than ever that the processes for buying and claiming on insurance are as good as they can be."

She spoke of her personal experience as a claimant, and while she said she had a good experience, the industry needed to be mindful that many people's experience has not been good.

"Lots of people have bought protection off the back of Covid-19 but when the fear of this fades away there may be consumers around there who may be thinking of walking away from their policies.

"We need to remind people of the value of their insurance, and all the support services around it."

The panel also said while it is good to use events such as Covid-19 to have conversations with clients about protection, it is also important to make sure that individuals are getting the best possible cover they can.

"Take advantage of the situation, not take advantage of people", Thomson said. 

That said, while a "write it or refer it" approach to selling insurance might not be a regulatory requirement, Mead said it is important for some advisers not to write protection or buy leads from unverified sources, but to refer to other partners.

This way the consumer's best interest and experience is as good as it can be, with the most appropriate product recommended to the client. 

Earlier in the ProtectX2021 conference, Jiten Varsani, mortgage and protection planner at London Money, said it was vital for brokers to make sure the insurance advice process doesn't just "start and end with covering the mortgage".