Now the Christmas festivities are well and truly over and most of us are settled back into the real world, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on some of the work the Protection Distributors Group carried out in 2018.
If I said that paying a death claim was the moment of truth for life insurers, I am sure nobody would argue. While many claims are paid quickly, it is a sad fact some are still held up by probate, leaving families waiting months or even years for money.
Our funeral pledge is simple. Insurers pledge that at least £5,000 will be paid directly to the funeral director where a claim is held up, for example due to probate. This way, a family can arrange the funeral without putting themselves at risk of going into debt.
I am delighted to say that the following insurers have all signed up to the pledge: Aegon, AIG, Aviva, British Friendly, Legal & General, LV=, Old Mutual, Royal London and Zurich. Another two are committed to sign up early this year.
In mid-2018, the PDG launched its claims charter, again focusing on the whole reason we recommend protection insurance: the claim. More specifically, ways to make the process of claiming less stressful.
Our previous chair Emma Thomson wrote about the six charter items in Money Marketing last year and there are six insurers fully signed up. These are: Aegon, British Friendly, Holloway, Old Mutual, Royal London and Zurich. Others are keen to sign up in 2019.
Access to Insurance Working Group
In late 2018, the PDG joined many other trade bodies, intermediaries, insurers, reinsurers, regulators and charities to address the issue of access (or lack of it) to insurance for people with health conditions. Following several meetings, we have begun to address topics such as transparency of underwriting decisions, signposting to specialists, group risk solutions and professionalism.
The PDG hopes that this “working party” will enable more people to be insured and is also taking big steps to improve relations between charities, intermediaries and insurers.
This year, we will continue the fight to improve the insurance industry’s public image. Insurers are doing an amazing job at improving products, providing enhanced added benefits to policies and, most importantly, paying the majority of claims. Within the industry, we know just how beneficial an insurance policy can be to support financial resilience and we need to find as many ways as possible to promote this to the public.
We have the funeral pledge and claims charter, two significant steps that show in times of need, at the point of a claim, insurers step up and do the right thing. Now we all need to get out there and educate the public on just how good we are.
Alan Knowles is managing director of Cura Financial Services and chair of the PDG