Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Numbers Don't Add Up - Confusing Insurance Quotes

The 2013 top list of insurance companies from consumer advice publication Which? produced some very interesting results. Going through a list of 38 insurers, giving each a consumer score and rating their policies as well as Which? giving their feedback, NFU Mutual came out top of the list with John Lewis coming second. Age UK and Saga came 10th  and 12th  respectively with MoreThan at number 28 and Admiral at 36 out of 38. 

It was noticeable that many of the so called “traditional” insurance companies were not at the very top of the list, but the top two are very customer focused organisations. “It’s about time” and “never knowingly undersold” are the strap lines for NFU and John Lewis and they certainly seem to have applied these approaches to their insurance divisions. It is about time that insurance companies stop funding expensive, albeit often humorous, advertising campaigns and get back to their core values and deliver a product that does what it says on the tin for the right price. 

It’s a fair cop? 

 Looking through the report it seemed to me that a fair and standardised approach was taken to grading these companies, with an all-round approach to assessing their delivery and their worth. Why then is it so difficult for insurers to adopt the same methodology when dealing with their customers? For those of us who aim to find the best deal for insuring our cars and vehicles there are some very puzzling conundrums out there in the wonderful world of car insurance. For example, if you choose to insure your car with Liverpool Victoria or LV then the cost will increase depending on your day job. Being a bar manager or private investigator will increase your premium by between 23 and 28% although being a policeman will get you around a 9% discount. I find it interesting that a PI and a police officer could often find themselves doing the same sort of job activities yet their personal car insurance cost is very different. 

The true cost of loneliness

If you are divorced or single or have children then the insurance companies differ as to what they will quote. Apparently Direct Line will add 9% more if you are a driver with children, MoreThan don’t change their quote and the Co-operative and Aviva don’t even ask. LV quote 3% more if you are divorced, single or separated – really kick a person when they’re down then!

With the range of differences and options then it is not surprising that people struggle when it comes to choosing and understanding all the options available when insuring their homes, their cars, and their health. A number of us would seem to be turning to customer facing organisations such as retailers or the farming industry who have moved into the insurance line of work. Is this because when we do speak with them we get good service and a consistent line of communication? 

We have seen examples here of companies such as MoreThan who do not treat their consumers in an equable and fair manner. If companies wish to retain our loyalty and our custom in these economically tough times then they need to ensure that they use a transparent and standard approach to assessing our potential “risk”. It also helps if they have a Customer Service department that understands the definition of the words, “customer”, one who purchases, a buyer, a patron and the term “service” meaning to help, give assistance and benefit.


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