Sharon Mawson, QuickPages

Keeping the vulnerable insured during isolation and potential lockdown

We are facing unprecedented times and with the vulnerable already being isolated their anxiety is understandably exceptionally high. One thing that they do not need to worry about is their insurance.

We are coming to one of the busiest times for insurance renewals and it is critical that the insurance industry makes the process as pain free as possible for their older customers. Particularly since the Financial Conduct Authority and CAB believe that the over 65s are more vulnerable to unfair pricing practices when it comes to auto renewals. Our research shows that a high percentage of policy holders aged 65 or over do not source additional quotes, instead, choosing to renew with their existing provider. The FCA is concerned that such individuals are paying a higher price for their premium by staying brand loyal and failing to shop around.

Added to this is the concern that many of those impacted by Coronavirus isolation are not online, or are suspicious about buying products – especially financial ones, over the Internet. Consequently providing customers with multichannel purchasing options is critical. Two years ago we carried out a study investigating the different contact options for insurance customers. Only 36 per cent of Car Buyer magazine’s top automotive insurers provide customers with a contact sales number on their home page and of these 80 per cent do not make it obvious. This has now reduced to just over a quarter (26 per cent) providing a phone number on the home page. Additionally we found that only 28 per cent of insurers currently provide a contact phone number that is free of charge, however 62 per cent of customers said that they would be more likely to purchase a policy from an insurer that they were able to speak to without having to pay for the call.

Moreover, a cross-industry study by the Institute of Direct Marketing found that on average freephone numbers increase the number of customer enquiries by 185 per cent and improve brand perception by over 50 per cent and a study by The Henley Centre found that 68 per cent of people feel that companies who offer freephone numbers care more about their customers.

For those at home worrying about insurance renewals, having insurers that provide an easy to find phone number, or even better a freephone number, will help allay anxiety at this time. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that make a massive difference.

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