Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark – MAF197

On the show this week, I talk to Andy Couchman, co-founder of Protection Review.

We chat about how the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards has grown to become one of the premiere financial services events of the year and the new “I Mark” which seeks to recognise true innovation.

Welcome to episode 197 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark - MAF197

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Andy started Protection Review with another financial services luminary, Peter Le Beau
  • The process Andy goes through to write product reviews and how he scores them
  • What innovation really means in financial services
  • The reasoning behind the launch of the I Mark
  • What companies will have to do to receive the I Mark.

Who is Andy Couchman?

Andy started his career in product marketing roles in various large UK financial services companies.

After leaving corporate life he made a success writing about financial services topics. Together with Peter Le Beau he started Protection Review back in 2003. What started as a paper publication and an annual dinner has turned into a prestigious annual Conference, Dinner and Awards event and a popular website.

Although he has retired from the day to day running of Protection Review, Andy still writes the reviews published each month.

Summary of our chat

In his reviews Andy always remembers that teams of people will have worked hard on launching the product or service he is reviewing. They’ll be looking for the highest score possible. But over the years he’s developed a method of setting a benchmark for the products and services he’s reviewing.

He rarely gives a 10 out of 10. In fact this may only have happened a couple of times.

Until now, Andy has always acknowledged innovation in his reviews. Thinking back to the launch of Critical Illness Cover in 1986 he acknowledges that it was real innovation back then. However the current practice of adding new illnesses and conditions, whilst a good thing because it improves the product, is more evolution than innovation.

That’s why he’s please Protection Review is launching the “I Mark”. It will recognise and promote true innovation in the protection segment of UK financial services.

He’ll still mark his reviews on a scale of 1 to 10, but from now on he’ll also award the I Mark to products and services that offer something different.

Recommended business book

Andy likes Damon Hill’s Autobiography. The racing driver faced many mental health challenges over the years and Andy thinks this is sobering reading and reiterates how important it is for insurance companies to take care of people with similar issues rather than simply rejecting them for cover.

He also recommends Lucian Camp’s book about financial services marketing. Lucian was my first ever guest on the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Links

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Paul Avis, Natalie Summerson and Bill Eddolls on improving customer experience with underwriting technology – MAF182

This week, I’m welcoming back Paul Avis to the show for the fifth time along with his colleagues Natalie Summerson and Bill Eddolls.

We talk about how technology has transformed the once lengthy and complex underwriting process into something more customer friendly.

It’s a deep dive into the world of financial services and protection insurance.

Welcome to episode 182 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Paul Avis, Natalie Summerson and Bill Eddolls on improving customer experience with underwriting technology - MAF182

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How the underwriting process has changed over the years, from simple in the 1980s to complex in the 2000s
  • The three main reasons customers drop out of applying for protection insurance
  • Fixing the frustrations of long waits for General Practitioners Reports
  • Cutting back on questions to make shorter, more understandable applications forms
  • Pints and glasses not “units” – Talking the customer’s language
  • Putting the customer at the heart of the journey, not the Actuary

Who Paul, Natalie and Bill?

Paul Avis is Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance. A keen sportsman, Paul notes his interests as Bath Rugby, Somerset Cricket, Swindon Town Football, Diving, and Skiing. Natalie Summerson is National Sales Manager for Canada Life Individual Protection. As well as being passionate about protection insurance, Natalie enjoys keeping fit and entertaining her friends and family. Bill Eddolls is a Development Underwriter at Canada Life Individual Protection. A father of three, Bill’s hobbies include walking the dog and supporting his children’s sporting interests: hockey, kickboxing and playing football for Bristol City Academy.

Summary of our chat

Back in the 1980s underwriting was simple. Application forms were short. Over the last 30 years companies have added many pages of questions. And they’ve made the process longer. Getting General Practitioner’s reports can still take longer than 30 days.

Also when people get a quote for protection insurance, they are often disappointed to find they end up paying more after underwriting. This all adds up to a process that frustrates the customer rather than engages them.

Canada Life are at the forefront of changing customer experience using underwriting technology. Back in 2002 they introduced the CLASS (Canada Life Application Self Service) system for group protection insurance. In 2014, with the rest of Canada Life focussing on Pensions Freedoms, the Group team lent their expertise to individual protection underwriting.

Their research found there were three reasons why customers drop out of applying for a protection product:

  • Question sets are too long. At over 32 pages (and that’s on paper, online might appear more) people get fed up with intrusive questions
  • The price they got from a “Quick Quote” system is not the same as they end up paying after they apply. One in three people find the price goes up after underwriting
  • Processing can take many weeks, often over a month if the insurance company needs a GP report.

Natalie and Bill talk about how Canada Life have tried to solve these problems. They’ve cut the number of questions by 40% and introduced simpler language. For example whilst most companies ask people how many “units of alcohol” they drink, Canada Life talk about pints and glasses. When was the last time you went into the pub and asked fro 2 units of alcohol?

They’ve brought in tele-interviews instead of GP reports and now 80% of their applications go on risk within 20 minutes.

Insurance companies have in the past resisted cutting questions or dumping the GP report for fear of putting up the price of cover. But Paul say, “We’ve put the customer at the heart of what we do, not the actuary.”

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Paul Avis, Natalie Summerson and Bill Eddolls on improving customer experience with underwriting technology – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Marketing lessons from the Protection Review Conference 2018 – MAF179

Over 250 people from over 100 firms attended last week’s Protection Review Conference in London.

Although the conference is for the financial services industry and focuses on protection insurance, there were clear marketing lessons which I think are applicable for all industries.

And in this week’s show I’m going to share them with you.

Welcome to episode 179 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast

Marketing lessons from the Protection Review Conference 2018 – MAF179

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How putting together consistent content can set you up as an expert in your field
  • Aiming to educating, entertaining and inspire your customers with your marketing
  • Using video to show your human side, display empathy and create trust
  • Keeping language simple and avoiding jargon, waffle and gobbledegook

Links

If you enjoyed – Marketing lessons from the Protection Review Conference 2018 – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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