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Financial Advisers
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Criticising the ‘order takes’

It would be unfair to expect the average person to know and understand all aspects of short-term insurance. That’s why the role of the professional broker is so important, and why there is no room for ‘order takers’ in the industry. This is the opinion of Anneleen van Wyk, Group Director of Marketing and Sales at the Dex Group of companies.

She believes that uninformed or badly informed ‘order takers’ who work at certain call centres don’t always offer clients sufficient value, thus harming the industry. “It is probably not such a good idea for people to do their own short-term insurance quotes via the internet, because the average person is always inclined to search for the lowest possible premium,” she says. “Without thorough knowledge of all the benefits, disadvantages and permutations, it is almost impossible to calculate the best coverage. This could result in people being either incorrectly insured or seriously underinsured and ending up with enormous costs after an accident or a burglary – and no professional broker to negotiate on their behalf.”
Van Wyk says it does not at all mean that the public is stupid. But because the average person is not fully informed about every insurance package available in the market, the right questions are not always asked. “That’s why they don’t necessarily receive appropriate advice or the full picture.”
The average person depends on a professional and informed broker for adequate protection. Because such a broker has access to various products from a variety of insurers, he can determine which package would best suit the needs of the client by suggesting one or a combination of products. The ‘order taker’, on the other hand, only recommends the product at his disposal and leaves the client with no choice at all.
The consultant at a brokerless call centre will probably never deal with the same client again – that’s why he is only interested in writing a policy and getting it over and done with as quickly as possible. As a consequence, it often happens that only one question of the caller is answered, in order to keep the quote as low as possible and conclude the deal without delay. “Only when a claim arises does the client realise what is not covered by the policy. This obviously leads to a feeling among the public of having been misled, which gives the industry a bad name,” she comments.
A typical example is Mr X calling to enquire if his vehicle could be insured. Because he is uninformed, he does not mention the extras fitted to his vehicle and assumes that everything is automatically covered. Neither does he enquire about a car rental option or an excess waiver because he doesn’t know that such products exist.
An informed and professional broker who wishes to build up a strong relationship with his client anticipates all permutations and ensures that his client will be able to make informed decisions. That is the only way of establishing a long-term relationship. A professional broker will also ensure that his client has the option of more than one underwriter, so that the client will be able to make an independent and informed decision without feeling coerced into any deal.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.3 1st April, 2008
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