Open discussion abused to brandish myths

Open discussion abused to brandish myths

Allianz gave the editor and two fellow journalists, the opportunity to interview senior Allianz board members and senior executives on a range of issues. The interviews were open and frank as is Allianz's style.
It was therefore with some surprise and disappointment that I read your front page lead article in the November 23 edition. Your article went beyond the healthy scepticism which is an essential part of the enquiring journalistic mind, into publishing a number of incorrect facts in direct contradiction to the content of the briefings from Allianz directors and, indeed, their assurances on a number of issues. Such are the inaccuracies that I'm compelled to put the record straight for the benefit of not just yourself, but the wider insurance market. The inaccuracies are many, but I will correct the major ones.
Allianz has no plans to scrap the Cornhill Insurance name. On the contrary, it confirms that it does not see the need to review the Cornhill Insurance brand name in the UK because of its strength – nor does Cornhill. For the record, in the UK Cornhill is among the best known insurers while Allianz is relatively unknown.
The offer to staff to participate in the Allianz share-purchase scheme does not reflect any branding issue whatsoever. The scheme is simply an opportunity for Allianz Group staff worldwide to share in the continued successes of the parent company.
To suggest that as part of Allianz's sponsorship of the BMW-Williams F1 team, Cornhill pulled out its sponsorship of English test match cricket is, quite frankly, rubbish. The decision to end a very long and successful sporting sponsorship was not an easy one for us to make but it was made by Cornhill for its own business reasons.
The decision to add the Allianz name to that of Cornhill for broker business in the UK was a purely Cornhill decision, without influence from Allianz. The reason for the dual brand was clear – the combination of the strong local brand of Cornhill coupled with the strong international Allianz name provided us with the best option for intermediary commercial lines and industrial business both in the London and UK markets.
The real point you missed, or ignored, from your visit – a point made by Allianz directors more than once – was the overriding Allianz business philosophy. “Think global, act local” has been at the heart of Allianz's global business approach for many years. These are not hollow words. Summed up this means that Allianz Group provides the global reach, but its operating entities in each region are autonomous in relation to its local operations.
So what this means for Cornhill is twofold:
n through Allianz Cornhill International (ACI), a trading division of Cornhill, Allianz provides the global capability for ACI to write risks for multi-nationals based in the UK and to write international risks.
n Cornhill maintains its autonomy for its operations in Britain in all local matters including local branding and sponsorship and promotion.
Geoff Mayhew
corporate communications manager
Cornhill Insurance
See the company profile, page 18.

Not so much togetherness

There has been much criticism of direct writers in the past but I have just become aware of a new scenario that may well be of interest to intermediaries throughout the country. A client, who has held motor insurance through his agency with Norwich Union (NU) since June 1993, has been advised to cancel mid-term and move to Norwich Union Direct. Evidently, a saving in excess of 42% is available on a like-for-like basis.
Most intermediaries will be aware that, in the past, NU was prepared to match premiums quoted by its direct arm for cover on a like-for-like basis but it now seems that this arrangement only applies at renewal!
In the circumstances it seems apparent that the direct office made no enquiries regarding the identity of existing insurers or expiry date and therefore encourage breach of contract on the part of one of its own policyholders.
In this particular case the household insurance has also been placed with NU since 1995 and appropriate discounts have been secured. However, if this contract is not also cancelled mid-term, the next renewal will probably see an attack from the new motor insurer.
Since the merger between NU and CGU,
the new combined operation represents the largest agency account for Newport Black. This situation causes me some concern,
especially in view of the ongoing problems with the direct arm. Accordingly, no doubt like many other intermediaries, the balance of the account will have to be closely monitored for the future.
“Together we're stronger” clearly cannot be used as a way of describing the relationship between this particular intermediary and NU.
RH Aslett
managing director
Newport Black

Spin those discs

I read with interest Euan Campbell's remarks on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) in
letters November 16.
First, I am sure that the programme sponsor will by this time have responded in his own eloquent style to Campbell on the questions of access and how MID will reduce the uninsured driver problem but I would like to take up another of the issues he has raised.
Campbell seems to think that windscreen insurance discs (WIDs) would have solved the problem and cites the Republic of Ireland as an example. Is he sure that WIDs have resulted in an improvement over there?
I doubt that it has. As for the UK, I am surprised in this day and age that anyone is still advocating a paper-based solution. We hear frightening estimates of how much road tax
is lost each year, despite the tax disc system. And, what guarantee would there be under Cambell's system that the absence of a WID would create a more vigorous reaction or be any more successful?
As I have said in earlier correspondence on this subject, it is now far too easy to replicate official documents using scanners and other technological devices.
The other aspect on which Campbell may have missed the point is that in UK it is the driver who must be insured. A WID on a windscreen would not necessarily mean that the person driving the vehicle was covered by insurance any more than the absence of a WID would necessarily mean that the vehicle was being used/driven without insurance.
Fortunately, the MID will have the answer to these questions.
Roy Rodger
Motor Insurance Consultancy & Training

Dispel the myth

Risk management is not rocket science.
It is important that as many organisations as possible embrace the principles of risk management.
I believe, however, that a mystique has been built up around the subject, which is hindering this work. The basic principles need to be explained in plain straight-forward, plain language.
The highly technical terms and techniques should remain with the consultants and risk managers of large companies. Too often one can cite examples of the lack of forethought resulting in unnecessary hardship for all kinds of organisations. Some of the problems now being experienced in the aftermath of storms and floods are good examples of missed opportunities for basic risk management profession to get across the message to more people in more organisations.
Convincing organisations of the value of this advice is not easy, but there should be
a concerted effort to provide a service for a wider audience.
Brian R Tuffrey

Doing their Brit

I am a helper at a youth group in Southend-On-Sea, we deal with upto 60 children aged bewteen 14 and 19 years old, taking them out and about to various events.
Recently we approached Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers in an attempt to get some tickets to a music concert as I was told the company was an expert in the Entertainment Insurance market.
Unlike many other multi-national companies, Robertson Taylor responded by kindly donating 20 tickets to the recent Britney Spears concert.
I would be grateful if you could give up a few column inches to print this enlightning story and to pass on my thanks to all concerned at Robertson Taylor.
Ben Kinder

Give us all the info

As independent insurance brokers we are only too well aware of the delay that will inevitably result at the insurance companies' end if we forget to include a straightforward piece of information, such as the policy number. Even including the policy number but omitting a claim number appears to cause delays. Not surprisingly, we ensure we provide as much detail as possible when writing to insurers.
It is therefore disappointing that many insurers do not return the favour, especially on correspondence from the claims department. Insurer correspondence (which comes in a format obviously designed by an IT person) might include the client's first names, but not the surname, or surname and no initials or policy and claim numbers only.
This is frustrating and forces us to run a search on our computer system, tying up valuable time and resources. The good old days when we only had a few hundred clients and not too many Mr Smiths are (sadly) behind us.
If any senior insurance company personnel are reading this, perhaps they could have a quick look at their claims correspondence. They might be surprised.
David Boxley
Clark Conway Insurance Brokers