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Helping vulnerable customers

Published: 22/08/2017

Helping vulnerable customers

Early last year the Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association launched their Code of Good Practice to help insurers and insurance brokers recognise and help potentially vulnerable customers who may need extra support when renewing motor and home insurance policies. It was accepted that what is defined as vulnerable may vary, but it generally describes individuals who are at risk in their interaction with financial service providers. Some of the circumstances that leave people vulnerable can be low literacy levels, lack of English language skills, or even changes in someone’s personal circumstances can put customers at risk.

The code wants insurance professionals to recognise and understand potentially vulnerable customers. It also said that existing 'legacy' policies should be periodically reviewed to make clients aware of more suitable policies. At renewal customers should be asked if their current insurance still meets their needs and be communicated to in a number of different ways to ensure that they understand and can exercise their various options. 

These are all things that, as an insurance broker, we already do. In our everyday business Flint maintains direct contact with clients, via the telephone and face-to-face and is therefore very well placed to support vulnerable customers across these key areas.

1. Expertise

We know from our own experience that many customers need guidance to understand policy wordings. The consequences of choosing one policy in favour of another only comes to light in the event of a claim and if cover is insufficient, then it's too late.

We use our expertise to understand your needs; find the right policy and insurer and then explain the options to you. We explain the small print and insurance terminology so that you don't have to do it yourself

2. The personal touch

Thankfully, our business is still about the personal touch – even if you only speak to us by phone, you are still, more often than not, dealing with one of a small team of people. It's likely that the same person who sold you the policy in the first place will be the one to contact you at renewal.

Our ethos is about putting our customers first to build strong, trusted and lasting relationships. This contact with our clients means we are well positioned to spot potential vulnerabilities amongst our customers, even if they themselves are unaware.

3. Risk Management

At Flint our service extends to more than simply sourcing insurance; we support our clients throughout the life of the policy and that naturally includes risk management advice.

Insurers expect clients to mitigate their risks and independent brokers like Flint can help with this via such things as advice, site visits and risk management planning. Good client relationships, local area knowledge and insurance expertise mean that we can quickly identify risks and highlight vulnerabilities.

We work between insurer and client to actively help our clients minimise their risk providing our insurer partners with a high degree of reassurance.

4. Claims Support

Any insured event that leads to making a claim is incredibly stressful and even more so for vulnerable people, but as an insurance broker we support all of our clients when making claims.  

We have our own claims team to represent our clients and work with insurers to resolve difficult situations as quickly as possible.  

5. Staff Training and Industry Standards

Insurance brokers must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and as such make a firm commitment to comply with industry best practice and treat customers fairly. This is further supported by the Financial Ombudsman.

Institutions such as BIBA who support their broker members to provide first class services, as well as providing advice on key insurance issues are another indication of a commitment to best practice.  

As well as being a BIBA member, Flint has a robust staff training and development programme, with many of our employees embarking on industry standard qualifications. Insurance brokers like Flint can spot vulnerable clients and give them the best help and advice with insurance protection.

 

 

 

 

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