I work with just one account and have built an excellent working relationship over the years.
As a Royal London underwriter, I follow a broad set of principles rather than a process. Our underwriting philosophy, data protection regulations, and other guidelines mean I’m empowered to support advisers in a flexible manner. And it’s this flexibility that advisers love.
Right at the start of the relationship with my account, I took time to compare both companies’ procedures to try to streamline them. I wanted to build a closer working relationship and implement a smoother end-to-end process. As a result of several conversations, we agreed an entirely new internal process, designed to be easier for both Royal London and my advisers. This process has reduced the number of inbound calls I receive by around 35% which, in turn, has meant less time wasted for both parties.
All my advisers have my direct phone number and email address. They can contact me at any time, directly, if they're not sure about something. Sometimes the pre-sale conversation throws up some interesting questions. If an adviser has specific concerns because, for example, a client does extreme sports, I can speak to the reinsurers, investigate the activity and find out what terms we can give. It may be that we can offer full cover at a premium, or maybe offer cover with exclusions.
I’m also able to provide pre-sale advice so my advisers know what underwriting decision to expect even before they submit their application. And, if during the underwriting process, I need more medical information, I’m able to speak directly to the client or their doctor if it’s quicker. (Of course, if a client’s working and can’t talk on the phone I’ll email instead – whatever works best for them.)
Royal London doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all mentality and, having worked with the same advisers for a number of years, I’ve been able to tailor my approach to what each adviser needs. I’ve learnt individual adviser preferences - some of my advisers prefer regular phone calls, whereas some prefer to be emailed on a weekly basis. I work with them in the way they prefer rather than the way that suits us. Because of this, my advisers now trust me to deliver excellent customer service.
Things inevitably do go wrong from time to time, and my advisers trust me to be honest and open with them, and to offer solutions to put things right. It’s this straightforward approach that has allowed me to build the strong relationships I now have with my adviser accounts.
You can find out more about our personal approach to underwriting here.
Stephen has been an underwriter since 2004, and a senior underwriter since 2015. When not in work he's likely to be found on the golf course, or being blasted by a Nerf gun by his young son.