Royal & Sunalliance has mistargeted scores of its Business Insurance Direct (Bid) mailshots to brokers' clients with RSA policies and to brokers themselves.
The day before last week's Insurance Times arrived at Dorset registered insurance broker Broadstone Insurance, the firm's own IFA wing, Broadstone Insurance Services (life & pensions) received the mailshot from RSA. It still had the offending wording about “no middleman, so the price you pay is lower”.
Director John McComish phoned to get a quote and was initially told it was no problem. But he was subsequently denied cover because Bid “does not offer PI cover to IFAs”, begging the question why RSA had written to the firm in the first place.
RSA has insisted that when it cannot quote for business, it puts customers in touch with a local broker. Although Broadstone has a small commercial account with RSA, the Bid operator gave McComish the number of a London firm, 100 miles away.
In another case, RSA's Bid wrote direct to an accountancy client of professional indemnity and directors' and officers' specialist Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Heathfield in East Sussex. The accountants had PI cover already placed with RSA.
And RSA fanned the flames of discontent by sending a standard letter to PIA defending its stance. “You can tell by the letter I received that it's a standard letter with my name stuck on the top,” said PIA boss Graham Hearsay. The letter, from broker development manager Rod Kitchen, contained clauses taken from his letters sent to the broker organisations.
And Hearsay blamed the RSA board. “Somebody at board level must have discussed how to protect the brokers' interests and they've cocked up,” he said. He doubted that the mailshots had been mistargeted. “I don't believe it's a coincidence that loads of brokers have had clients contacted.”
Hearsay also claimed the move was dividing RSA staff. “I have spoken to our RSA rep and he's as pissed off as we are,” he said.