I work in the underwriting department of one of the "top five" insurers, and I feel that Gary Field is being unnecessarily harsh (9 January, Insurance Times). Even in the unstable climate of today's market, I feel that good service is almost always achieved.
In our offices, calls are typically answered in less than 20 seconds. Post is outstanding for one to three days. Staff are encouraged to study with the CII, and "online" courses are available in subjects as diverse as "handling complaints" and "managing conflict".
To tar all insurers with the same brush is unfair. Having worked on the broking side, I understand his frustrations. However, I can assure him that the problems caused to brokers by insurers do not compare to the problems caused by brokers to insurers!
Field criticises insurers for employing unknowledgeble staff, yet I currently come across staff in certain "big name" national brokers, who do not understand simple concepts such as insurable interest.
Surely a more constructive line for Gary to take would be for him to contact the insurers that cause him problems. He may find they are able to work with him to find a mutually-beneficial solution, such as having a dedicated contact point within the call-centre. This would allow him to build a good business relationship, while also ensuring that he is able to speak with someone he trusts.
Name and address withheld