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.

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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.

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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Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser – MAF174

My guest on the show this week is Mollie Burdge. People say financial services isn’t a career young people aspire to. Mollie doesn’t agree.

We talk about how she became an apprentice at financial adviser firm Future Proof and about her experiences along the way to achieving her goal of becoming a financial adviser.

Welcome to episode 174 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser - MAF174

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Mollie joined a financial services company
  • How the apprenticeship programme works
  • Why Mollie decided to become a financial adviser
  • The qualifications Mollie studied for
  • The customer case she’s most proud of working on
  • Mollie’s advice for young people considering financial services jobs

Who is Mollie Burdge?

After completing her A-levels at Reigate College, Mollie didn’t think university was for her. Instead, she went straight into Future Proof as an apprentice in customer services.

Future Proof provide advice about protection products to customers across the UK. They also operate a referral service for advisers who don’t specialise in protection. Although small, the company is growing steadily, and have won many of industry awards.

They distinguish themselves by giving customers clear advice, rather than selling them the wrong product. They want customers to be confident that they’ve chosen the best policy for them.

Summary of our chat

Mollie chose to complete an apprenticeship in customer services and was able to secure an apprenticeship at Future Proof. 18 months in the role taught her how to build customer rapport and the importance of teamwork and professionalism. While learning about the industry, she’s also grown her skills, confidence and experience.

Mollie explains that an apprenticeship is the same as a normal job, where you learn as you go. Her first task was supporting customers with policy and payment queries whilst studying as well. She had to complete 12 months of coursework, providing examples from her daily work, to gain a Level Three qualification.

Working in customer services gave Mollie a good understanding of the company’s products, although not how they applied to customers. She felt that becoming a financial adviser would offer more challenges, variety and the opportunity to progress. She particularly enjoys carrying out research to support customers with challenging medical histories to find them the best policy.

Mollie has studied for an NVQ Level 3 in customer services. For her financial adviser role, she completed the RO1 (Regulations and Ethics within the UK and European financial services market). She followed this with RO5, which focuses exclusively on protection. She will complete further training on an ongoing basis to develop her knowledge.

Mollie’s most memorable case was a lady who was struggling to find cover after cancer treatment. She found a company willing to insure the customer, but they changed their minds at the last minute. Mollie’s employer, Future Proof, helped her to challenge the unfair decision and have it overturned.

Mollie’s advice for young people considering financial services: Do your research and find a reputable firm. There’s no point in learning from a company that doesn’t do things properly and picking up bad habits. Be tenacious and open to any job which offers progression. Learn as much as you can and gain experience.

Mollie is a passionate advocate for young people in financial services.

Where Mollie will be in 5 years

She wants to gain more experience and grow in confidence. Future Proof is growing, so she hopes to be offered more opportunities. She’d also like to be recognised by her peers and clients as a trusted expert in her field. One of the most important things for the industry is to get the word out about protection insurance, so she wants to promote that.

The big take away from our chat

Never say no to the opportunity to learn and gain more experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s just attending a conference or completing extra training – it will be helpful in the long term.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Mollie’s attention

The company UnderwriteMe offers a brilliant platform, and they’re also working to bring companies together, which is great. It makes Mollie’s work quicker, and helps her to set clients’ expectations. It reduces the need to pre-sell underwriting as more insurance come on board.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser – 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.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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