Can brokers save the industry's cred?

liz blog.jpg Since I started writing for Insurance Age in July last year I have heard so much said about how the public perception of insurance needs to change.

However you attempt to jazz insurance up with Meerkats, opera singers, craggy rockers and aging comedians, it ain't ever going to be sexy. Annoying adverts may get in your head depositing the brand there and you can argue that all publicity is good publicity but froth-filled adverts do nothing to boost the credibility of the profession.

So many industry bods whinge that people don't value insurance. The sad truth is that many don't trust insurers, seeing them as little more than a bunch of crooks who are more than willing to take their cash but are less enthusiastic when faced with the prospect of dishing it back out.

Research from the Biba suggests this opinion may not be as far from the truth as many would like to think.

When 67% of broker respondents said that they had to get tough with insurers on behalf of customers to get claims paid this year and 93% regularly negotiated up to a 20% increase on claims settlements - insurers seem to be living up to their rather damning reputation.

Brokers who took part in the Biba study also provided a range of examples of how they helped clients in the claims process. These included a flood damage claim where the insurer's initial offer rang in at approximately £9,500. After the broker intervened on behalf of the client this amount rose to £17,500. Another example saw the broker securing an £1,800 settlement on a laptop computer that was lost when initially the insurer repudiated the claim entirely.

Perhaps brokers should be taking greater advantage of insurers' shortcomings by stepping into the breach and staking their claim. On the whole, they are rather inept at marketing themselves but there are so many opportunities for them to get out there and shine. In a time of political upheaval, people want security which is exactly want a good broker can provide.

If insurers can't or won't help change the image of the industry for the better then it may be time for brokers to step up to the plate.

By Liz McMahon.


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