Responses to the first set of letters are being analysed, and a report of the findings will be issued once this is complete. New guidance referring specifically to telephone sales and other “remote” selling methods is to be added to the Code Manual during 1997. The CMC was particularly encouraged by ABI’s steps to improve the selling of travel insurance, and by its work in this area with the Association of British Travel Agents and the Association of Travel Insurance Intermediaries. Solicitor Fees This approach was identified as one which would be helpful when dealing with the selling of other mass-marketed products, especially creditor insurance.
Responses showed there was a need for sellers of general insurance to make clearer reference to complaints procedures. However, the questionnaire was largely targeted at consumers who had already made a complaint, and the CMC has suggested that, in future, additional research should be considered. The 1996 Complaints Analysis showed that, in 1995, the overall total number of written complaints was down by 9% on 1994.
From 1998, it is anticipated that complaints made to insurers by telephone will also be included in the analysis. The needs and expectations of the consumer are becoming ever greater and high standards are demanded of all product providers. The report shows how, during 1996, the Code Monitoring Committee has focused its efforts in response to feedback from consumers. For example, the first mystery shopping exercise has highlighted a number of areas for further research On the Committee’s recommendation, the ABI intends to develop the project for future years as it could prove a useful benchmarking exercise.
Another important development was the establishment of the Price Waterhouse independent intermediary compliance monitoring service. The service is already up and running and compliance visits to independent intermediaries will start within the next few weeks. We remain committed to very high standards in the selling of general insurance. Work on the Code during 1996 and into 1997 reflects this and the initiatives have provided clear benefits for consumers.