Almost half the insurance companies are disappointed with the partnerships they have formed with non-traditional distributors of their policies and products, finds global actuary Watson Wyatt.

But the problem lies in the slapdash way insurers develop these relationships, encompassing retailers, utilities, employers, employee groups, community groups and non-profit organisations.

Many insurers and financial product providers have complaints about customer service, compliance, low margins and the operational and technological problems of trying to adapt the needs of individual distributors.

“The providers of financial products are usually more keen to offer their existing products in a unfocused fashion through whatever arrangements they can establish rather than build specific customer needs-based solutions,” said Frank Fletcher, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt.