The `dumbing down' curse

I was amused, but not surprised to read your comments in Insurance Times (Opinion, 4 April). The service Charlie Whelan received was not out of the ordinary, but is now the industry standard. I state this as a cynic with some 30 years' experience in the industry seeing a decline in the standards of service offered. The only concern from chief executives is the bottom line profit (no doubt linked to bonus or share options paid).

Why do these companies spend vast fortunes on TV advertising? Because they need a constant flow of new blood to replace disgruntled policyholders who have gone elsewhere.

Looking at the inability of the claims staff to understand your circumstances - this is the result of a `dumbing down' of the claims skills base so that poorly paid unmotivated staff work to a script and anything which does not neatly fall into this cannot be accommodated. See Insurance Times 28 April backchat where an insurance company employee found it more beneficial to work at a burger bar rather than at a leading insurer.

It is also ironic that in the edition in which your feature appears there is mention that many insurers are looking to outsource their call centres to India and that Churchill already does so. How a person on the other side of the globe can realistically be expected to help a motorist in the UK when UK companies cannot do it themselves is beyond me.

Colin Poole