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Can mutuals rejuvenate consumer confidence in the insurance sector?

22nd October 2013

‘Consumers have lost faith in Insurance’ was a headline in today’s (22nd Oct) Cover Magazine. Read below benenden health’s response to this article, that  claims that consumers have been turned off by insurance companies due to negative customer experiences.

Lawrence Christensen, Marketing Director said: “Russell Higginbotham is right to suggest that ‘the fundamental need for saving and protection has not changed.’ However, the trends of declining interest in the sector are clear to see from the article. So what to do?

Perhaps it is time to turn our eyes toward business models that have existed for more than a hundred years, but have always been on the periphery or seen as old-fashioned. I’m talking about mutuals – which saw a heyday at the turn of the 20th Century and are making a fast comeback in the current economic conditions.

Recent awards short-listings – in particular the Moneywise ‘Most Trusted’ Customer Services awards – are seeing ever increasing numbers of these not-for-profit community-based brands appear. The likes of The Co-operative and John Lewis are outperforming the big guns of the private sector in their provision of high quality customer service.

benenden health – a mutual healthcare provider founded in 1905 – has its own strong credentials having secured the ‘Most Trusted’ healthcare provider title three years running and always from a shortlist of the biggest health insurance providers around.

Customers are finding it easier to trust brands where profits take a much lower priority and shareholders don’t even enter into the equation. The sense of community fostered in mutuals, often coupled with direct involvement in a democratic membership process, enables customers to have an impact on how the organisation is run.

This direct involvement by customers also helps foster a keener sense of what it means to provide good customer service – and so the wheel turns ever more effectively.

The Government is making positive noises about mutuals providing public services, so should the savings, protection and insurance sector wake up to the potential for mutuals to play their part in renewed customer trust and confidence?”

Read the original article

 

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