Treating customers fairly

Published on 13 April 2021

Welcome to Insurance Covered! The podcast that looks at the inner workings of the insurance industry with the help of expert guests. This episode we are joined by James Daley, founder of Fairer Finance, and we will be discussing the concept of treating customers fairly.

We start by discussing James time as a journalist and how he became involved in the insurance world. The concept of holding up standards and ensuring customers are treated fairly is something that has been at the heart of James work from the beginning. When looking at the financial services and insurance market James saw there was this real information asymmetry between what customers knew and understood and the reality of these complex product offerings. He identified the that there was a role for the press to play in helping to keep the industry honest and ensure customers are treated fairly.

James goes on to explain why he set up Fairer Finance in 2014.  "I set up Fairer Finance with the idea of having a company that was first and foremost something that we would try and support consumers to make better decisions but also very much recognising that a successful market for consumers had to be one that was fair to businesses as well". They developed a I created a rating system called 'customer experience ratings' that are a clear indicator to consumers which companies are the most customer focused. The ratings are developed partially through polling of customers but also takes into account the 'uphold rate' at the financial ombudsmen. The idea of these ratings are not to attack companies but something they can take to them with recommendations on how they can make their business more client friendly. "We ended up creating a consultancy business that specialises in re-writing policy documents. Helping companies create clearer customer journey, even helping them with regulatory response or product development with the focus on treating customers fairly". James goes on to explain while they do this for businesses across financial services, from an insurance perspective they focus on personal lines.

We then discuss what James thinks are the biggest concerns in the insurance world from an insured's perspective. James mentions trust, the struggle of finding the right product (customer experience) and the customer expectation gap as his three biggest concerns from an insureds perspective. He goes on to explain that they are linked in many ways. "Trust has been lost as a result of the customer expectation gap, the difference between what the customer expects to get vs what they actually get can sometimes differ, it goes back to the lack of knowledge and understanding of complex products".

We then get to the main question of the podcast, what does treating customers fairly really mean. "So, I think it really does mean acting in customers' best interests and the phrase that we say specifically to companies when we work with them is it is your responsibility to do everything you possibly could to give the customer the best chance of getting a good outcome".

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