Supporting vulnerable insurance customers with a repair-first approach

2nd November 2018
Vulnerable elderly man in his home

The topic of customer vulnerability is one that is high on everyone’s agenda. The implementation of strategies for vulnerable customers, has very much been led by industries such as financial services, who have made great strides in formalising their approach.

Insurance companies have lagged behind and, as a result at the end of last year, the Charted Institute of Insurance (CII) put together a report and recommendations on how the insurance industry can improve its current practice towards vulnerable customers.

They surveyed 23 charities and consumer groups on the issue of consumer vulnerability and the insurance industry. The results showed that 52% felt that the people they represent are inherently vulnerable to unfair treatment within insurance matters.

Why is so important?

Ageing population – With innovations in science and technology, we are living longer.  Over 18% of the population are aged 65 and over.  69% of people aged over 85 have a disability or longstanding illness, with dementia currently affecting one in six over the age of 80, with this expected to double in the next 30 years.

Computer, literacy and access – 40% of individuals aged 65 and over have never been online. The older generation is potentially more vulnerable because of the increasing trend of services moving online, in addition to shopping for insurance services, the increasing use of customer portals and self-survey for lower value claims.

Learning difficulties – according to a government survey conducted in 2011, approximately 8 million working age adults have ‘below-functional’ numeracy skills and about 5 million have ‘below-functional’ literacy skills in England.  For others there is a gap in basic financial; skills that impacts their ability to manage and plan their money and services.

Mental health – One in four individuals are now expected to experience mental health problems in a given year.

Repair and restoration approach is better for vulnerable customers

We believe that a restoration approach to insurance claims can have a positive effect for vulnerable customers.

  1. A restoration approach, enables policy holders to return to a pre-loss condition far sooner than if they were to be offered a replacement, lessening the stressful impact of a claim.
  2. In severe cases policy holders may need to move out of their home whilst areas of the property are replaced. With a restoration approach, the works can be carried out in-situ and usually the same day, minimising the impact on the policy holder.
  3. Plastic Surgeon’s finishers work extended hours to fit into the lives of policy holders. This includes evening and weekend work or even overnight to suit the customer.  A more vulnerable customer may wish to have a friend or family member with them and our finishers will work around this to ensure their needs are met.
  4. All our staff are fully insured, and DBS checked. Emails are sent to customers the night before their arrival with a picture of the finisher who will be attending, their full name and their vehicle registration. In addition, ‘We are on our way’ notifications are sent to customers before arrival, so they know when to expect us.
  5. Many vulnerable customers feel more at ease having their loved, and familiar items being restored back to their former glory rather than being replaced with items they don’t recognise.
  6. Our bespoke claims management system – ‘Visibility’ ensures that should a customer have any vulnerabilities these are flagged discreetly, so that all involved with the claim from the claim manager to the finisher is aware of the customers vulnerabilities and can adapt their approach accordingly.

Find out more about our insurance and claim management solutions.

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