What legacy are we leaving for the next generation

At least once a week, sometimes more than once a day, I am referred a matter where clients aren’t being given the right advice or being unfairly messed around during a claim. I know that many brokers and retired insurance professionals are helping with the same.

I thought I would share a note I received from an old mate showing how wide spread this is:

Hi Al,

Retired I may be, but immune from insurance related questions I am not.

I’ve had three thrown my way in the last few weeks, all related to Private Motor.

First one relates to the claim process at [name withheld] Insurance. (name of parent withheld).

My bike mechanic had a T/L [total loss] a few weeks ago and was telling me about it last night.

When he rang to make the claim he was instructed to obtain a driver record from Transport QLD for he and his wife. (She was driving at the time of the accident). I understand of course that the insurer has the right to satisfy itself about these matters, but I have never heard of this before. (Client and Mrs are in their 50’s so not a high risk profile). [As we understand it there was nothing to prompt this but it is standard procedure on all such claims].

FWIIW [For what it is worth], the rest of the claims process was just crap. Apart from its being drawn out, they were told the payout would be X but then that was revised by about 10% (downwards, naturally) without explanation or apology. Then when the settlement was agreed, they were told it would take another 7 to 10 days for the EFT to hit their account. Another person disgruntled with the industry. [At no time was the client offered any complaints procedure].

The other two queries, remarkably enough, were about cover for vehicles in transit.

One was my son in law moving from Townsville to Darwin and the other was someone in Perth, moving to Mt. Gambier.

Both rang to ask me for an insurer that would cover the transit risk (by truck and train respectively) as their comprehensive insurers had told them their policies don’t cover transit, even though one of them has a General Average provision in their wording.

One was [name withheld] through [name withheld] Leasing and other was [name withheld] through [name withheld]. In both cases, I told them to ask whoever they were talking to to show them where it’s excluded in their policy (after I had read them and could not find any such exclusion).

Admittedly, in both cases, they were dealing with AR’s of the insurer rather than the underwriter, but it still took some convincing to extract an admission that they were covered. In fact, [name withheld] maintained for a while that although the transit would be covered, the loading and unloading wouldn’t be. (I finally got this sorted as well).

I find it quite distressing that there appears to be such a lamentable lack of product knowledge on the part of staff [remember this is a basic high volume product]. What happens when punters don’t have someone to ask? Both of these people would have just bought cover they didn’t need.

I am more convinced than ever that the prime focus with regard to training is around compliance rather than product.

I’m not sure if any of this is any use to you but you’re in a better position than most to ventilate these sorts of issues.

Thanks for listening,

Peter [surname and email provided]


Like many in the industry, I share Peter’s concerns. This thing called ‘insurance’ seems to be forgotten and many Insureds feel like they move from being a customer to a criminal when they have a claim and then to a cost center when they prove they are not a criminal and simply want the protection they paid for.

With the two Insureds that had received wrong advice on their motor policy, what do they think of not only their insurer but insurance as a brand. What trust has been developed in these interactions.  Will they stay with the insurers knowing that if it is this hard and they are wrongly treated before a claim what can they expect should they need to make a claim.

As the world moves more and more to the experience of customers, many insurers and the agents, assessors, builders etc they use are doing their best to destroy trust and relationships.

Thankfully there are still people like Peter out their doing his best to project our profession /industry image and give people meaningful advice. He wishes he was involved earlier in the claim situation.

Just thinking about this, if this chap is mentioning this to Peter and before the conversation as I understand it, he did not know Peter had been in insurance, how many others is he complaining about his experience to. How much of the TV ads are wasted as a result for as we know we trust people we know more than TV and big corporations.

Is it any wonder that Lemonade and others who are focusing on the customer experience are getting so much attention.

While this is a treat, it also creates opportunities for brokers, claims preparers, lawyers and others who are there to provide meaningful advice either before or after the loss.

Of course this sort of behavior only leads to more regulation (clearly needed in some areas) and opens the door for genuine disruptors.

2 responses to “What legacy are we leaving for the next generation”

  1. Tim Allan says:

    On my first day of work at General Accident on 4 January 1977 I was told if you don’t know the answer tell the person on the end of the line that you will check and get back to them. I still practice that advice today much to the appreciation of my clients.

  2. Allan says:

    The good old General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corp. Where I started this wonderful career as well. (5 April 1971).

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