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Small firms have higher standards

Two items in the October 25 issue of Money Marketing have prompted me to write. The first is Lorna Bourke&#39s article in which she discusses the ABI Raising Standards initiative.

Our company is very concerned that Norwich Union has been accredited.

One of the elements of the award is promptness in dealing with complaints. In the year since NU took over CGU the standard of customer service has gone steadily downhill.

I am still waiting for resolution of a complaint (the second in six months) dealing with policy documents that should have been issued nine months ago. I have four outstanding cases that have been waiting for policy documents for over a month.

It now transpires that NU has a backlog of 30,000 items of work – so no hope of a swift resolution to my complaint.

The second item is the letter from Gavin Anderson where he comments about the state of the phone systems of our major companies.

We could all go on at length about it but our company has started invoicing insurance companies for delay and extra work involved. As a small IFA, this seems to be the only redress we have.

The root of the problem seems to be the ubiquitous call centre. The people you can talk to cannot answer your query. The people who can answer (the admin team) are not allowed to talk to you.

One query I have been trying to resolve with the gloriously inefficient Royal London (who took over the even more inefficient United Friendly) has taken over 20 phone calls, many of them over 30 minutes long.

Believe it or not, this company keeps no record of phone calls. So nobody knows I have called before and they never get any closer to dealing with the problem.

The silver lining that Mr Anderson talks about is the smaller companies. What a joy to do business with Liverpool Victoria, where the staff were efficient and courteous and business is swiftly concluded.

Three cheers for the Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society – quotes received in 24 hours, a consultant who phones to thank us for the business, and policy documents within three days.

It is companies like these that should be accredited by the PPIAB and held up as a shining example to NU and other companies like them.

Beatrice Dixon

Office Manager, Broadway Financial Services, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex

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