Can you believe that 2017 is almost at an end? The year has gone quickly but a lot has happened in 2017. While not all of it has been good and mistakes have been made, the key is that we can learn from them.
Brokers in particular can glean over this year’s errors and use them to teach lessons and impart with advice so that customers can have a better experience in 2018.
Here’s 10 things we feel you can highlight to your client to ensure that, at the very least, their families are protected, they’ve obtained the best deal in the process when searching for products, and made moves to reduce the likelihood of theft, damage and loss:
- Travel cover is a must
Unless you’re living in a cave by now you must have heard about Monarch’s collapse and the resultant chaos that ensued. Be sure to ask your clients about their holiday plans for 2018 and highlight the importance of getting the right cover so that they are not stranded in another country with no money. About 20% of people that go on holiday don’t buy travel insurance. If you’re not tied to a particular provider, consider advising your client to consider Thomas Cook’s new insurance product.
- Storm proofing homes
We’ve been hit by a number of major storms this year. Halifax Home Insurance said it handled almost 3, 500 claims for storm damages last winter which was 50% higher than claim volumes in the milder summer months, due in part to Storm Doris which hit the UK in February 2017. Then of course there was storm Ophelia which brought winds of up to 100 miles per hour. Winter isn’t a season that we can escape from so in the summer months advise your client to protect their homes and make some maintenance and home improvements that will protect their homes when the weather turns nasty.
Simple things like cutting back tree branches that could damage property in a storm, parking cars in garages or undercover parking areas, checking the condition of the roof and chimney and securing all external fittings could go a long way in reducing storm damage and any resultant claims that may arise from it. The British weather can be unpredictable so don’t let your clients get complacent and neglect caring for their homes in the summer months.
- Compare car insurance to save money
The average motor insurance premium amounts to around £781 per annum according to the insurance price index provided by Willis Towers Watson. That figure is no doubt higher following the hike in Insurance Premium Tax in June. No doubt, insurance premiums are set to go up again in 2018.
The key is to remind clients to not just let policies automatically renew. We all know insurers ramp up the premiums hoping customers will be too lazy to shop around. But that’s where you step in and provide that service for them!
- Make sure they have the right home contents cover
Home contents insurance is a must to protect homes against burglaries, fires and damage. Not everyone has this type of cover thought. According to the Financial Inclusion Commission the majority of people on earnings less than £15,000 have no contents insurance. You can tell your clients that the good news is that home contents cover has dropped in recent years thanks to the decrease in the number of burglaries. According to MoneySuperMarket the average cost of contents is now £76 a year. If your client’s budgets are stretched though, offer to do some shopping around for cheaper premium for them.
- Secure homes against burglary
Early this year, Churchill Home Insurance revealed that victims of a burglary have a one in four (28%) chance of falling victim to being targeted again at the same property. It added that, despite this, 1.3 million Brits spent no money on upgrading their security after a burglary incident.
Added to that, stats show that thieves may be taking advantage of homeowner’s negligence and lack of vigilance. Analysis from the insurance provider showed that successful criminals are most likely to enter through the front of a property (47%), followed by gaining access through the back (38%) and the side of the property (6%). Apparently, most burglaries occurred a result of a door not being locked.
Remind your clients to be especially vigilant when going on holiday or when the clocks are turned back. Darker nights typically result in an increase in the number of household thefts.
Get your clients to take better care of their homes and ensure they are locked when they venture out. Upgrading security, such as installing better locks, putting up visible deterrents like CCTV cameras and making it more difficult to access the home will put off any would be thief.
- Consider getting pet insurance for their fur kids
Pet injuries can and do happen. And they can occur when your client is least expecting it. They could be innocently walking their dog out in the open when it’s attacked by someone else’s dog that isn’t as good natured and off a leash. According to Direct Line Pet insurance, one in seven (15%) of dog owners have seen their pet attacked by other dogs. Owners collectively spent £458 million last year on dog injuries after fights. Vets bills can be expensive and if pet owners are not covered by pet insurance they may end up in debt having to pay for Fido’s vet fees.
- Get cover that protects in the event of illness, disability or death
According to Scottish Widows one in five (21%) of people in the UK admit their household would not be financially secure if it lost its main income due to serious illness. Almost half (47%) admit their savings would last just six months or less. Most people tend not to have a back up plan should there be a death or serious illness in the family. This can leave other members of the family desperate and destitute if the main breadwinner cannot provide any more. Find out if there’s adequate cover for the home and any liabilities that are owing in the even that tragedy should strike. If they haven’t got life cover or want to delay getting this type of insurance, remind them that this product gets more expensive the older you get.
- Consider offering insurance for their children as they head of to university or take a gap year
Asking them if their children are off to university or intend on taking a gap year soon may be invaluable questions to ask you can then establish if they are adequately insured. According to ABTA, tens of thousands of school and college leavers are expected to take a gap year a trip before starting their courses in 2018.
Students are prepared to travel far and wide. And the top ten gap year destinations include Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, New Zealand, USA, Cambodia, South Africa, Argentina and India.
Make sure your client’s children are adequately covered for such trips and also for any activities that they plan on doing such as skiing, bungee jumping and any other dangerous activities that may not be covered by travel insurance providers.
Also if they are instead heading off to university and living in student accommodation, make sure they have their contents adequately insured against theft or damage. Student digs make for rich pickings for thieves – according to Direct Line one in four students is burgled during their years of study.
- Tell them that price comparison websites should not be the only thing consulted when trying to find a better deal
Comparison sites have helped consumers immensely in recent years because they’ve made it easier to shop around and compare prices, particularly when it comes to financial products like insurance. But recently they’ve come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. In September, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its final report following a market study into the use of price comparison sites an other apps. It highlighted in the report that these sites are not always working in people’s best interests.
In a statement it said that it was investigating how one site ‘set up its contracts with insurers, because it suspects this may result in higher home insurance prices.’ The CMA added that ‘it has also laid down clear ground rules for all sites on issues such as communicating how they plan to use people’s personal data and clearly displaying important information like price and product description’. So while not all comparison sites have a hidden agenda, it’s important to point out that in light of such incidences its important to use an accredited broker to help compare costs as well.
- Remind them of their rights and obligations
New regulation like the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) are set to come into force in early 2018. The IDD will enable consumers to compare products and familiarise themselves with the product’s main benefits and pitfalls before they make any decisions to take out the cover they are interested in. While it may be easier then for consumers to compare products and prices it’s still in your interest to explain the terms and conditions of the cover they choose. An informed customer will ultimately make better decisions when it comes to their financial needs. You don’t want to keep your customer in the dark – the repercussions for that could be immense. Not only could you lose the client but other clients too due to reputational damage.