Choosing the right insurer – are cheap premiums really worth it?
Value is a highly subjective idea and one which has been lost in recent times. The insurance industry has a proud and interesting history.
Health and life insurance actually have their originals with the Greeks and Romans in 600BC, when guilds called “benevolent societies” were created to care for the families of deceased members, as well as paying for funerals. And property insurance emerged from the ashes of the Great Fire of London.
However, nowadays, insurance is seen as a “grudge purchase”, which has led to today’s fiercely competitive quotes for car insurance on price comparison websites. From the outside, the value proposition that professional brokers, such as Network, offer consumers and society has become clouded.
Recent events, such as Brexit, Covid-19, the Russia / Ukrainian conflict have ultimately led to higher inflation, and a resulting cost of living crisis. This, coupled with the advancements in technology, has compounded the difficulty in convincing the modern customer of the benefits independent brokers provide.
It is hard to see how the customer and the provider can ever agree fully on what value looks like in insurance. Maybe they will never agree; but I believe a key part of getting more people engaged and in control of their insurance is by helping them feel confident about the value that they get from their broker and the product that they ultimately purchase.
It is important for a customer to have independent advice in relation to insurance, which can be complex. A professional broker is best suited to advise on the most appropriate insurance cover for a customer’s particular needs.
So how do we as a business and a profession communicate clearly the added value we offer?
Value is not about cheap headline prices; it is about what lies beneath and the customer’s perception of the content of the advice, and product. Get that wrong, and it impacts upon the trust and willingness of people to engage with a broker.
Our firm belief is the more interaction the better. Customers need, firstly, to have trust and confidence in their broker and not just be driven by the allure of finding the cheapest price. A good broker will already understand that price is a sensitive issue but will also understand that the before and after sales service, quality of product and financial security of the insurer is paramount, especially when the time comes to making a claim.
The Channel Islands are fortunate, in that both Guernsey and Jersey have a comparatively large range of insurance brokers to choose from. However, often, customers will move from one broker to another based on the price of the product even when they have received excellent service.
Whilst many personal insurances such as motor, household and travel will have similar policy coverage; coverage does differ. Therefore, insurers can offer cheaper products by removing certain covers, applying onerous policy conditions or exclusions, or by applying higher policy excesses. When it is time to claim all of these can have a significant impact on your claim experience.
If clients engage with one broker, they can understand the product they are purchasing, and also the broker can understand the client’s requirements and provide a solution right for them. If this is price, let the broker know this is a primary concern, as they will have a route to market to use another insurer and/or product.
By engaging and creating a relationship with one broker, you will achieve continuity in the advice you receive and will reap the benefits when the time comes to take out a new policy, renew an existing policy or to make a claim, as you will have a more personal relationship with that broker.
Our role is not just to sell you a policy
Whilst sound professional advice in relation to the purchase of a policy is the cornerstone of what we do, ultimately the purchase of an insurance policy is to protect you when that sudden and unforeseen event happens.
At Network, our claims service is one of our core competencies, and we believe this is where we excel and provide that added-value service. When you notify a claim, you benefit from a dedicated claims handler and it is our job to support you through this process, which may be when you lose your home or business to fire or flood, crash your car, or become ill. This is something you simply do not get from a price comparison website. We have all heard claim horror stories, so having peace of mind that you have someone fighting your corner and knowing your claim will be handled efficiently and paid, is in my mind priceless, or maybe worth just paying a little more for.
Network Insurance & Financial Planning offers a range customer services and products designed with your needs in mind.
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