Christmas is well on its way but where other businesses are winding down in anticipation of the new year, the team at MCE Insurance are all-hands-on-deck. Julian Edwards, CEO of the UK broker MCE Insurance Ltd (and of Gibraltar-based under-administration underwriter MCE Insurance Company Ltd - now known as Green Realisations 123 Ltd) noted that even in best of circumstances, navigating changing a portfolio of MCE’s size from one capacity provider to another would have the business at complete capacity.
So doing this coupled with supporting the run-off of MCE-GibCo and while dealing with ongoing disputes with the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has made for a very difficult time indeed. Edwards has publicly voiced his disagreements with both the Gibraltar regulator and the joint administrators Kroll but his latest conversation with Insurance Business is not a debate on wrongdoings but rather a request for consideration.
From the beginning, he said, MCE has been dedicated to ensuring an orderly run-off and protecting vulnerable customers. From correspondence with Kroll, Edwards noted that the firm has proposed a timeline that will see all policies disclaimed on a set, given data.
“Kroll initially said they wanted to disclose all policies on the first of February, and we’ve been working hard to convince them that this is really not a good idea,” he said. “[Consider] the physical administration of doing this given the volumes of calls coming in from customers, the requirements, the client needs, the risk of uninsured drivers following the event – they are all risks that we believe are material and will materialise.
“Then, [on December 13, 2021] I received a letter from Kroll saying they want to disclaim all non-motorcycle policies from a midpoint in January and would like us to write to all policyholders on Friday, notifying them of this. Our entire four-wheel portfolio is made up of vulnerable customers. Our four-wheel policies are distressed purchases. It’s those people with adverse claims and driving histories in lower socio-economic groups where we’re providing a really important service.”
These are people who don’t have the financial means to simply purchase another policy, he said, coupled with the fact that they might not be able to purchase another policy because of their adverse history. Dealing with these vulnerable customers would be a very complex piece of work at any time, Edwards said, but to be asked to do that one week before Christmas is “flabbergasting”. Like any other company, the Christmas period is a peak period for MCE with planned and unplanned absences disrupting the flow of everyday business.
“Everybody knows you don’t try to put through any significant change in a business one week before Christmas,” he said. “Because, and this is right at the top end of decisions that anyone can make, we’re going to have to be there to service customer queries. We’re going to have a whole portfolio of people that have a limited grasp of either the English language, or financial affairs, or contracts - all with a significant and legitimate number of queries and questions. And we do not have a way to service those queries in questions.”
Christmas is the peak season for many of MCE’s clients as well, he said, and its portfolio looks after the commercial vehicle market as well as the private car space. Edwards noted MCE knows its customers inside out and delivery drivers essentially make up 100% of its commercial vehicle portfolio. There are vulnerable customers within that segment, and for them to be greeted with that information on Friday is “mind-blowing” and, to his mind, completely unacceptable.
It’s a week before Christmas, he said, and this timeline is simply not a good idea, a fair idea or a just idea. These are customers who purchased their insurance in good faith and MCE was and is a solvent business – so this should not be happening to them.
“So, what would I like to see?” I would like serious consideration given to these vulnerable customers,” he said. “This is a serious subject concerning real customers and I’d like to see that reflected.”
Insurance Business UK has reached out to the GFSC and Kroll for comment.