It’s not something that would be considered acceptable in today’s protection industry though admittedly it has felt like a long, slow road at times towards the progressive service environment we see today.
Take claims for example – the key ‘moment of truth’ for a protection plan. It feels like the industry has made real strides in recent years to make this process much more efficient and design it around the needs of the customer.
We know when a claim is submitted something awful has happened – that’s why at Royal London we’ve been working hard to develop an innovative claims experience that quickly provides the cash pay-out the plan is designed for whilst also providing additional support beyond this.
From the first call, we provide a single point of contact, so your client only has to give information once. They’re offered access to a dedicated nurse from our Helping Hand service, who'll provide tailored and personal support for as long as they need it.
And with our fast track claims process, we’re able to settle many bereavement claims within days where it would have previously perhaps taken weeks for the beneficiaries to receive their payout. Previously, a key cause of delay within our claims process was that for all bereavement claims, we needed representatives to complete a form and return documentation, regardless of the claim’s value. We recognised that this wasn’t always necessary and so we now only ask for paperwork in certain circumstances.
Last year we agreed to sign up to the Funeral Payment Pledge – an initiative from a group of intermediaries called The Protection Distributors Group, who are campaigning for insurers to do more to help bereaved families. In April we implemented this change for life claims. We’ll now be able to pay up to £10,000 towards the costs of a funeral if full payment is delayed by what can be a lengthy process of obtaining probate to confirm who's entitled to the full payout. Then once probate has been granted, we'll pay the executors the remaining sum assured.
We’re always looking for new ways to do things differently, and in the process offer a claims experience that’s tailored to your client’s personal needs.
We know our claims statistics are important to you as one of the main reasons customers give for not taking out protection is that they don’t trust insurers to pay out1. So we’re pleased to report another set of strong figures for last year. We paid 99.1% of all claims in 2017 which equates to over £517m paid to 34,573 plan owners and their loved ones2. This is slightly higher than the ABI average of 97.8%claims paid by all providers during 20173. On top of this, we gave over £700k to customers whose plans hadn’t yet started with us but were protected with our Free Cover4.
As in previous years, we’ve created a range of material that demonstrates the strength of our claims statistics for 2017. Our adviser report (pdf) contains all the numbers you might expect and includes more detailed information on the Free Cover claims we paid, as well as case studies demonstrating the benefit of our Helping Hand service at claim time.
As an industry, we need to make sure our customer experiences are tailored for the personal needs of every individual, including how a customer wants their claim to be handled. Until we do there will always be a body of policy holders, no matter how small, that feel utterly let down by their provider at what is after all a ‘key moment of truth’. That’s why we’re developing a claims experience that’s bold and innovative, to truly deliver for even more families at their time of need.
Read more about our 2017 claims statistics.
1 –Royal London State of the Protection Nation 2017
2 - Royal London UK protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2017).
3 - Association of British Insurers (ABI Website – 2017 Protection figures – 30 April, 2018)
4 - Royal London UK intermediary protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2017).
Helping Hand is a package of support services, provided by third parties that aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. These services aren’t part of our terms and conditions, so can be amended or withdrawn at any time. We work with an independent nurse advisory service called RedArc Limited. All calls are confidential and will not be discussed with Royal London without your permission.
Senior Protection Marketing Manager
Ross joined Royal London in May 2014 as Senior Protection Marketing Manager bringing with him 16 years’ experience in financial services. He has held various marketing roles during his career and has experience working across a number of markets including savings and investments, individual pensions, workplace pensions, platforms and most recently protection. He has a keen interest in behavioural economics and how this can be applied practically to change consumer behaviour in financial planning.