‘Our Insurance Community’. I can’t think of a better theme for the 2022 BIBA conference, that will see us descend on Manchester once more. Covid-19 didn’t stop the insurance business and it’s been an eventful two years for our market but not all relationships can fully function over Zoom, Skype or WebEx. To be part of a community means to be part of something bigger and it’s going to be fantastic to see so many people at the conference. Come and join us on the Allianz stand, we’ve got plenty to talk about and if you come and peg a sustainability pledge you could even win something rather impressive too.
Our own theme is ‘Shaping tomorrow together’ which of course fits well with the idea of community. From a customer perspective whether broker or insurer, we all represent the profession and working together is key for creating a resilient and sustainable future.
Recently Allianz has talked a lot about sustainability with a focus on the environmental context of the word but it’s also always important to be looking at whether products and services are sustainable over time. Do they continue to offer value to our customers?
As you’ll already be aware, over the last year the FCA has made various changes as part of its review of pricing practices. While not all of the changes have impacted the commercial insurance space, product governance is one that affects us all. The rules which came into effect on 1st October 2021 include requirements for firms to complete detailed value reviews by September of this year. Once those are completed, we then have to make sure that every product is reviewed annually to ensure that it continues to provide fair value.
As insurers we create the products but distributing them is obviously a really important part of the value chain. This means that the entire proposition needs to be regularly reviewed and we need to work together with our broker partners to do this.
What does this mean in practice? Our big tick item is reviewing the value of every single product we create and you sell. Ensuring target markets are clearly defined and appropriately conveyed, together with how the product is intended to provide value and meet the needs, objectives and characteristics of the target market. It’s also key to consider how the pricing rules and value requirements relate to the proposition – fees or charges should be ‘representative’ so that they don’t have a negative impact on the value from the customer perspective.
To do this effectively collaboration is going to be key – to complete the reviews we (insurers) are, and will continue to request data from brokers. The information needs to be sufficient for us to appreciate how the distribution chain and any additional products or services associated with it potentially affect the value of our product. We need this data to meet our obligations and truly consider the value of the overall proposition from a customer’s perspective.
This is an operational challenge, which requires higher levels of transparency, but the spirit of the rules shouldn’t be forgotten. As an industry we talk about having the customer at the heart of what we do so this is an opportunity to document and prove it. While we all adapt to the new rules, which may seem admin heavy, we need to remember that the right insurance purchase can be lifechanging in a time of need.