The New Year is the traditional time for making resolutions. Many in the insurance industry will be on the wagon, not smoking, going to the gym or spending more time with their families. But what resolutions have they set for their working life? What resolutions has the industry made?
Let's hope that the insurers have committed themselves to better service standards. Call answering systems that have an “all lines are busy, please call back tomorrow” message will be ripped out and thrown in the skip. Promises to deliver documents within three months will be torn up and rewritten with a seven-day, or even following day, promise instead. And the accuracy of documents will be right first time in all but exceptional cases.
When it comes to claims, companies and their loss adjusters will commit themselves to such high standards that the current weak ABI code will become irrelevant and the tough clauses that were taken out during the prolonged consultation phase will be put back in before the end of the year.
Brokers too will need to make some resolutions. They must provide insurers with more accurate information so they can better underwrite risks. And brokers that find one quote so wildly different from the rest of the pack should inform the insurers and double-check rather than just put a client on cover when the insurer, or the quote system, has clearly made a mistake.
For brokers themselves, this must the year to start properly cross-selling to all customers, rather than just talking about it. And don't wait until renewal, look at each customer's profile now and start to think about what other covers they might need and be prepared to buy.
Everyone in the industry should focus on the end customer. If insureds want longer-term policies and no annual renewal, or if they want access to the replacement goods firms' discounts even when they have no claim to make, insurers and brokers should listen. If they want their insurance to be just a part of a payment that covers all repairs and maintenance, not just for their car but for their home and their business, then insurers and brokers should react accordingly.
And if they want to deal with the industry on a face-to-face basis, by fax, phone, email or the internet, the industry must be ready. These are New Year resolutions that would make a real difference.