Vulnerability register launched


Insurance Cares: The Vulnerability Registration Service aims to protect people from financial hardship.

A group of financial services professionals have launched a register aimed at preventing vulnerable customers from developing financial problems.

The Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS), is a not-for-profit initiative designed to help with money decisions and combat the associated risks to mental health arising from vulnerabilities.

In a statement the founders explained that the VRS is a tool to help people who consider themselves to be financially vulnerable and in need of help to register their details online, free of charge, and indicate to businesses and organisations they deal with that they require sensitive handling and support.

Legally authorised third parties are also able to register those for whom they care at no cost.

The register acts as a single point of reference for consumers and businesses to ensure vulnerable customers get the help they need from financial services firms.

Helen Lord, director of the VRS, said: “We believe passionately that consumers have a right to be treated with care and respect in their interactions with businesses and organisations, particularly when their personal circumstances leave them more vulnerable to financial harm.

“We are encouraged by the positive response the VRS has enjoyed from businesses who, like us, can see the benefits that this initiative can bring to help them treat their customers fairly and compassionately throughout the relationship. We urge other like-minded organisations to work with us to really help transform the quality of life and peace of mind of vulnerable consumers.”

The VRS was formally unveiled at an event in London today (11 September). Among the panel of speakers at the launch were financial journalist and broadcaster Paul Lewis; the CEO of the Consumer Credit Trade Association, Greg Stevens; director of the Debt Managers Standards Association, Kevin Still; and director of Christians Against Poverty, Dawn Stobart.

At the launch the VRS also revealed the results of a survey, conducted by ComRes with 2,009 participants, about vulnerability.

The survey found that two in five GB adults have experienced a life event that left them feeling vulnerable, either financially or socially. Findings included that:

  • 54% of the public think businesses definitely or probably should be required to identify whether a prospective customer is vulnerable in order that they can be better protected against harm; and
  • 50% of the public believe that businesses should have more regulatory requirements on them to identify vulnerable consumers.
  • Currently only 15% of the public agree that businesses do enough to protect their vulnerable customers.

Insurance Age recently developed three pledges with Insurance United Against Dementia and the Alzheimer’s Society to help insurers and brokers do more to help vulnerable clients.

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