Some of the biggest names in the UK insurance industry have signed a commitment to up their game and improve their communications with customers.
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII
) has launched the 2016 Commitment, a call to life, pensions and long term savings providers to commit to higher professional standards to improve the public’s interactions with the industry.
Following 12 months of research, CII
has identified that better customer service and communications would go a long way to improving how people feel about the industry.
The specific objectives of the 2016 Commitment would see the implementation of a common framework of professional standards consisting of professional development to make sure all staff are more broadly knowledgeable.
president Robert Fletcher said: “We believe our proposals are ambitious but realistic, and hope those signing up will fully implement the recommendations by the end of 2018.”
The 2016 Commitment has already been signed by some major insurers including Aviva
, Phoenix Group and NFU Mutual.
Nick Turner, sales and agency director at NFU Mutual, said the commitment is an enormous piece of common sense.
He said: “The idea was, could we create a framework, perhaps even some qualifications, which encourage everybody who’s likely to speak to a customer to have a broader level of knowledge than just their own sliver of work?”
Turner said this would allow for a more interactive discussion with customers and help them arrive at better outcomes regarding their products and services.
“We’re trying to build the reputation of our industry as a whole, for the good of our industry, and to improve the way customers feel about interacting with what is essentially their money,” he said. “We should make that demystified, simple and clear.”
Richard Rowney, managing director of Life and Pen
sions at LV=
, said the commitment will give customers more confidence they are dealing with well-trained staff.
“We’ve worked closely with the industry and the Chartered Insurance Institute to develop this initiative and are fully committed to implementing the changes as soon as possible,” he remarked.
With pension regulations in the UK going through big changes last year, the industry has become somewhat more complex. While there hasn’t been a flood of extra inquiries, Turner said there has been a small increase in the number of calls NFU Mutual receives.
“In some cases they want to just understand it and in others they want to seek advice, and I think we should just make sure wherever they go on that journey we’re either pointing them to the right expertise or the right government organisation,” he said.
The 2016 Commitment is expected to go a long way in improving how customers feel they can trust everyone they speak to who is working in the industry.
“It’s a good initiative, I’m delighted that we’ve got so many providers signed up in the first wave, I’m sure there’ll be more,” said Turner. “I think it’s one to be applauded.”
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