Insurers must work with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), said the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and called upon the industry to “put things right that we can do better”. Disputes should get as far as the ombudsman only when “we believe we are right”, he added.
The director general of the ABI, Otto Thorensen made these observations while speaking at ABI’s conference yesterday. He was discussing plans to improve service to customers and the reputation of the industry while launching a 10 point roadmap.
Underling the need to simplify products and procedures, Mr. Thorensen said: “We want to make conditions simple and easy to understand. We also want to make products simple too – just because we can make complex products, it doesn’t mean we have to”.
Consumers need to be knowledgeable and understand how processes work. They “need to acknowledge when they do something wrong”, he emphasised.
Nonetheless insurers need to work with the FOS to “put right things that we can do better”, he said adding FOS should be involved only when “we believe we are right”.
There should be uniformity in the way customers are treated and more standardisation of products and services in the industry, he said.
“Companies need to accept that treating customers fairly makes sense. It should be used as a framework to ensure better customer outcomes”, he argued.
It is in the best interest of companies to better manage “flow of change without a knock-on impact”, on consumers, advised Mr. Thorensen. The industry should be realistic about its expectations and “not expect consumers to conform to us”, he warned and underlined the need for education about the sector.