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Royal Liver attacks ABI on script-based sales

Royal Liver has criticised Association of British Insurers’ guidance which suggests that underwriters should stick to scripts when interviewing consumers buying over the phone, saying it will stop experienced underwriters from doing their jobs.

The guidance, issued last week, aims to ensure that consumers who take out cover online or over the phone can rely on their policy to pay out.

It also recommends that insurers should send completed application forms to clients for them to check.

But Progress from Royal Liver criticises the failure to require clients to sign the documents.

IFA market manager Andy Milburn says: “There is nothing about the client signing to say the answers are correct or incorrect at this point. Sadly, we knew this would happen. How is this going to help us reduce the issue of non-disclosure in the industry? This is almost more important than any review of total permanent disability, yet it has been ignored again.”

The guidance says insurers should use scripts for teleunderwriting and processes but Milburn claims these controls should be expertise-based rather than process-based as they would potentially restrict experienced underwriters.

Milburn says: “An inexperienced call-centre team member or inexperienced underwriter would need to stay on script but an experienced underwriter may be right to go off script as they would know to probe some answers in more depth.”

ABI spokesman Jon French says: “Royal Liver is one company and other companies we represent have different views on the issue of wet signatures. We have to make guidance based on the majority view. We are looking at the issue of wet signatures separately and should make progress in 2008.”

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