The following article is written by Ken Specter, Managing Director at Lawshield UK, in advance of his attendance at the BIBA Conference 2019.
On 10th April 2019 the Financial Conduct Authority published a report criticising insurance firms in their approach to the manufacturing, sales and distribution of some insurance products, which is ultimately leading to poor outcomes for consumers.
They argued that the failure of insurance firms to adequately consider the value of the products and services they are providing was leaving consumers with products that were not appropriate for their needs, excessively priced and resulting in a poor customer service. They highlighted the role of multiple parties being involved in the chain as a contributing factor to these poor outcomes.
How can insurance companies and those working with them ensure their processes avoid these outcomes? How can we ensure that consumers, who ultimately keep us in business, are getting exactly what they need from us?
We asked ourselves these questions because at Lawshield UK we work predominantly with insurers, MGAs and brokers nationally, so we strongly felt that it was imperative we take a root and branch review of our processes and lead by example in meeting the standards set by the FCA. During our review, we defined a number of stages that our capacity providers, our insurer clients and ourselves need to go through in order to satisfy the compliance requirements that have been set.
These stages are:
- Scheme Set Up & Training
- Demonstration Of Value
- Sales Process & Support
- Audit & Control
Getting It Right: Scheme Set Up & Training
- Our products are supported by A-rated security
- We have a limit of 3 capacity providers, enabling simple & straightforward administration processes
- Policy wordings are carefully reviewed to ensure conditions and IPIDS are clear and unambiguous
- When we set up a new scheme, we take the time to review every aspect of the sales process with our client
- We train both managers and sales staff to ensure they fully understand the product and its limitations; this is vital information for the customer
Demonstrating Value Clearly
- We are able to provide claims MI to our clients to show the claims ratio on the products they have chosen
- We have no interest in providing esoteric products where value is not clear; we are more comfortable with products which lead to claims we receive every day, be that for motor breakdown, a landlord with a tenant who has not paid their rent, a householder who has had a flood and needed to claim under home emergency cover, a victim of cyberbullying or phishing who has had to claim under a Personal Cyber product.
Distribution: Providing Multiple Reliable Solutions
- Digital Sales Platform
In recent years, large brokers have acquired many small brokers with legacy software systems, often provided by the same three or four software companies such as Acturis, CDL and Open GI. As an insurance firm, you may have a commercial incentive to sell ancillary insurance products, but this often brings with it a need for digital investment and infrastructure; this can in some instances prove to be a barrier to distribution and sales. At Lawshield we recognise this and as the sale of ancillary products is a core activity for us it is in our interests to enable you to overcome this issue. We do this by offering brokers unconditional use of our own Digital Sales Platform (DSP). This is accessible 24/7 and is fully maintained by our in-house team of software engineers and digital support staff. There is no bordereau requirement because we invoice at the end of each month to confirm sales, and we include bespoke MI to enable you to continuously review overall performance.
From the point of reaching a decision to access this platform, it takes no more than 14 days to be fully set up on DSP and in a position to commence sales, and use of our DSP is free of charge.
- A Branded Website
With a highly skilled in-house software and digital marketing team, we can also offer branded websites as an alternative to using DSP. This can be bespoke and we are able to provide case studies of Quote & Buy websites we have built for existing clients.
- Product Integration With Existing Software
Another alternative is for us to align one of more of the products with the software you currently use, however this would require significant volume.
- Traditional Bordereau
Finally, you may wish to distribute our products at POS and account to us via a manual bordereau. We can set up this system for you.
Continuous Sales Support
- We provide extensive sales training at the outset and our sales support teams are available to continue that support on the phone or in the offices of our clients
- We supply seminars to further enhance sales training
- If we build your branded website or if you use DSP we will offer 24/7 support 365 days a year, with our digital team on call, free of charge
- We net rate our products, ensure they are A-rated security protected and do not charge for digital support
- For large volumes we are always open to discussing rates
- At Lawshield we provide claims services to many thousands of customers and understand that our reputation depends on getting this right
Audit & Control
All of us who are involved in the sales chain must understand and comply with our regulatory requirements. At Lawshield we embrace compliance, because we know that it is in our best interests to do so. We always expect an audit process to be thorough, and welcome the helpful suggestions and issue resolution that auditors offer.
We want to work with businesses that support this approach to encourage growth and increase sales in a wholly compliant way.
This will ultimately ensure that the customer at the end of the chain has a product and service that is not only right for them, but that they will stay loyal to and will recommend to others.