As the economy struggles to emerge from the pandemic, what makes affordable insurance key for customers in the coming months? Laura Sweetman, Head of Sales South at CBPF, shares her perspective
“Even when the economy begins to re-open, huge numbers of people who have struggled with the likes of furlough, reduced hours or losing their job will need all the help, support and understanding they can get.
“Customers will need to be able to make insurance decisions with confidence –confidence that they will continue to be able to make the payments. And, crucially, that if they do start to struggle, friendly, empathetic support will be available.
“Brokers have played a vital role in maintaining customer confidence this past year. This business we’re all in has always been about adaptability and helping customers find solutions to changing circumstances – and during the Covid pandemic brokers have stepped up like never before.
“At CBPF, we have worked hand-in-hand with brokers to find ways to ensure that policies stay live and clients maintain the protections they need – while at the same time offering them breathing space wherever possible.
“But difficulties for clients have brought challenges for brokers, too – with shutdowns in certain sectors having a huge impact on specific personal lines insurance products.
“For example, the wholesale closure of driving test centres and banning of driving lessons has significantly cut the number of new drivers – which has meant a major decline in sales for brokers in this space. Similarly, the huge reduction in new and used car sales has impacted new business – while fewer drivers has meant fewer claims, making it hard for brokers to be as competitive as they would like.
“But we’ve seen our broker partners do more than just react to the situation – they’ve actively explored new ways to help find affordable solutions for their customers. Many have offered new products or widened their footprint.
“Many have also taken advantage of this quieter period to invest in staff, to upskill their teams. This means that more staff are ready to support their customers and help them understand that, even with money tighter than ever, using finance to spread the cost of their insurance is a practical, affordable way to ensure they don’t increase risks by compromising their cover.
“At Close, we are working hard with brokers to help get the message across that customers don’t have to find one large lump sum when they buy insurance, but can make regular payments that help them manage and budget for monthly household expenses.
“Good brokers understand their customers and know what they’re going through – and it’s important that our broker partners and their clients know that we understand, too. And that our sales managers are available and on hand to give support and advice whenever needed.
“We are fortunate that the UK’s vaccination rollout is going so well, meaning our economy is likely to reopen more quickly than many others. But that doesn’t change the fact that the financial effects of the pandemic will be with us for months and maybe years to come.
“We’re here to help our brokers and their clients come through these challenging times as unscathed as possible – and to provide affordable insurance solutions that will help them build for the future.