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Insurance Business | 18 Jul 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Brokers are demanding action on who can sell insurance after Woolworths was censured by ASIC for misleading consumers.
  • SB | 18 Jul 2013, 10:35 AM Agree 0
    maybe we should start selling fruit and Veg.
  • My Two Cents Worth | 18 Jul 2013, 11:18 AM Agree 0
    check the Obudsman stats for claims against direct insurers vs intermediaries, its clear clients do not know what they are buying when buying direct from insurers, many times they are mislead that the cover is the same as the broker product. You pay for what you get, the direct insurers cover is limited, they should be providing a 1 page benefit list, so it can be compared to other policies, as brokers we can provide comparisons, why dont the direct insurers.
  • David Verryt | 18 Jul 2013, 11:26 AM Agree 0
    Quite ironic really when we always say we should be comparing apples with apples (their product)
  • Mark | 18 Jul 2013, 12:04 PM Agree 0
    Banks sell money, post offices sell stamps, supermarkets sell groceries... maybe they should stick to what they know rather than dumbing down the insurance experience...
  • Unfair | 18 Jul 2013, 12:55 PM Agree 0
    Just as annoying is the fact a client who buys motor insurance through a broker with a reputable insurance company can get relatively the same cover at up to 50% cheaper if purchased directly WITH THE SAME INSURER.

    A motor policy with “insurer X” is $1,600 through us, or $850 through the same company under the direct market distribution channel. Try justifying the pricing differences to the client when that happens! It undermines the sound technical advice we’ve given on their business package, and causes doubt that we’ve overcharged them on their commercial policies.

    One can argue the cover may be deemed technically inferior to what we offer as brokers but when you can get additional benefits such as roadside assistance ONLY when you go direct it’s hard to convince a client that the cover is inferior.

    The insurers say the direct channel is more cost effective because it’s all transacted online by the customer, BUT SO ARE ALL THE SUNRISE TRANSACTIONS BROKERS DO!!!
  • RW | 18 Jul 2013, 01:18 PM Agree 0
    Totally agree with the most of the above but it is unfortunate that we, as brokers, don’t seem to be able to advertise our services like the direct marketers, so therefore we are fighting with one arm behind our backs!! Competing on price is what they will continue to do and it will only get worse until, as an industry, we find a way to sell our services better or just as good as what they sell theirs - simple!!
  • Ian J | 18 Jul 2013, 01:19 PM Agree 0
    Another consideration is the vast amount of detail and information brokers are required to obtain, just to quote a premium. These 'supermarket' policies and other direct insurers only need a quarter of the info we need thus taking more time to quote on business we make very little out of. The ridicoulous part is, is that these insurers are often subsidiaries, thus one and the same. The whole system needs addressing.
  • David Coe | 18 Jul 2013, 03:23 PM Agree 0
    As a professional industry, the last thing we need is any company offering cans of bake beans or a loaf a bread and asking would you like car insurance with that order!!!
    This sort of action brings our industry profession down to Insurance Checkout deal.
  • Rolf Van Dulst | 18 Jul 2013, 04:43 PM Agree 0
    This seems more like an Insurance Company issue rather than a Broker issue to me. It will be the insurers that will need to front the current affair shows, shock jocks and pollies up for re-election when a significant number of customers don't have the cover they thought they had and there are a mass of claims declined. It is them that will have to deal with the calls for increased supervision and compliance in the name of consumer protection. The other loser in this scenario could be the Supermarkets themselves who's brands could be damaged by this type of backlash.
    The Chemist industry successfully lobbied to avoid being swallowed up by the supermarkets on the basis that they provided professional advice to customers that the supermarkets couldn't provide. Perhaps the Broking industry could take the same tack.
  • Greg Cottrell - Insurance Professional Dinosaur | 18 Jul 2013, 05:45 PM Agree 0
    It is interesting that other "professional/specialist" products have been the target of the retailing giants in the past and they have failed because legislation could not be change to allow them to do so.

    AN example is "Pharmacy Products" which since the early 1990's the big retailers have been trying to takeover and monopolise that market. THEY HAVE FAILED SO FAR - WHY??

    Because they had industry associations that WERE AND STILL is STRONG, UNITED AND REPRESENTED THE INTERESTS OF ALL THEIR MEMBERS, not just the big companies. Unlike our industry bodies that are not only the stooges of the big international’s interest only, have become profit making businesses at the expense of their members off the back of legislated accreditation & compliance that they helped instigate.

    Even more interesting was that their product suppliers, the PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, FINANCED THEIR STAND AGAINST THE BIG RETAILERS, to the tune of millions of dollars, even though they stood to sell more products through the giant retailers. Again WHY YOU ASK? Because, unlike our suppliers, the Pharmaceutical companies realised that by selling their products in volume WITHOUT PROPER ADVICE:

    - was dangerous and would cost them more in litigation when people used their products
    incorrectly;
    - reduce the price value and quality of their products as their products would no longer be
    seen as specialist products;
    - price would be the only differentiator;
    - add more fuel to their already bad reputation of being corporate thieves;

    SOUNDS FAMILIAR DOESN’T IT - but a totally different response from out industry. After all as much as they deny it, INSURERS who since 2004 have taken back control of distribution market from Brokers, AT BOARD LEVEL do not want a professional intermediary market – they want the opposite to the Pharmaceutical companies, they want volume commodity market with the only independent intermediaries being of a Telco Style Salesman or Saleswoman.

    How do I know this – my wife is a pharmacist and seen the rise and decline of over industry over 40 years.
  • JD | 19 Jul 2013, 09:52 AM Agree 0
    I get all that is being said and that an educational piece is needed but there needs to be some responsibility of the consumer to check what cover they have and not expect cover to be identical!

    What intelligent human being switches from one product to another saving $200+ and expects the cover to be the same. Especially through a direct provider who we all know have a negative reputation to start with.

    There has to be some ownership/responsibility on the consumer.

    Frankly the species is just getting dumber and expecting more, brokers should be happy about this as it will always keep business alive and well.
  • Terry | 19 Jul 2013, 10:06 AM Agree 0
    brokers should not have anything to worry about , because we only recommend and sell the best cover with a reputable insurers......dont we?? I have long believed that any policy or renewal that is just sent to the client in an enevelope will become the target of direct insurers.
  • Ian J | 19 Jul 2013, 10:17 AM Agree 0
    WOW JD, what sort of consumer are you refering to. It is an insurance consumers nature to go with the cheapest premium on such a grudge purchase. The early positive is that it shows that consumers have a degree of trust in insurance providers, however that trust is destroyed after 1 incident which gives rise to a denial of liability of even a mis managed claim and this is the time that the negative impact hits ALL insurers and brokers giving rise to the stories that current affairs shows love. The whole matter of compliance and broker education was meant to place the resposibility onto the broker and the advise they give and thats why the consumer has the power to sue the broker if things aren't as they were led to beleive. Direct insurers have no such accountability. Maybe the broking industry should take stance by boycotting those insurance giants who do have direct divisions and start placing our business with those who do not compete against brokers - but we all know that won't happen. Or maybe the broking industry should just stop writing motor insurance (other than commercial or fleet) because we all know it is non profitable and a pain in the A.
  • Greg Gulyas | 19 Jul 2013, 11:19 AM Agree 0
    It is very annoying that these types of offerings come and go and they can make hay while the sun shines, but the damage to the overall reputation of the insurance industry (motor in this instance) and the ill will toward insurers stays long after such offerings exit the market with minimal fanfare.
  • KG | 19 Jul 2013, 03:11 PM Agree 0
    Agree with all the above. When the industry is under attack, the Government comes down hard on the licensed advisers / brokers. More strict rules are put in place at our costs. Then after a short time, they open the field to direct marketers without any selling restrictions or training. It is a merry go round. I believe there should be one law for everyone in this industry, which makes sense. Anyone can see that this is going to be a ticking time bomb in the future, and us professionals will be on the front line again.
  • Just An Observer | 19 Jul 2013, 10:39 PM Agree 0
    I spent 15 minutes standing behind a lady in the Local Post Office while she bought some travel insurance for a holiday she will be taking to Thailand.
    She asked a few reasonably good questions about cover and literally got NO answers. I mean NO answers. Had it been a broker and not been able to answer the simple questions she asked then you would not last very long in front of a judge if she has a medical problem and finds the Post Office Travel cover is some what limited!!

    BUT the government lets untrained people sell insurance! Why? Because as industry we don't fight hard enough! We will not come together and pay for an advertising program to raise awareness etc. I think NIBA has tried 2 or 3 times in the past to get members to fund such a program but could not get enough brokers to contribute to the fund. Maybe, just maybe we are our worst enemies!
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