"It’s not just the application process that has become easier and more streamlined though, as claims processes have also advanced."
Over the years the home insurance industry has changed significantly. The focus on technology in this sector has helped to make insurance more accessible for advisers, clients and direct customers, and we’ve also had to adapt to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
For intermediaries, advising on home insurance can provide a great opportunity for business expansion, however keeping up with the sector can be a challenge, especially for those who are new to the home insurance market. So here are my five top tips for advisers on how to navigate this market.
Understanding your customers’ requirements
When advising on a home insurance policy, advisers should consider the cover levels that a policy provides to ensure it meets the requirements of their clients. For example, it’s good to make sure customers value the contents of their homes correctly, to make sure they’re not underinsured. Some insurers offer a home contents insurance calculator to work out how much a home is worth.
Some homeowners may also have specific requirements about what they wish to cover. Since the start of the pandemic many people have been working from home, which has resulted in a rise of purpose-built home offices in back gardens, and homeowners may need to add this cover to their policy. Advisers play a key role here by using their expertise of buildings and contents insurance, as well as their knowledge of the terms and conditions of different policies, to make sure clients are fully covered.
For some customers, taking out an extensive home insurance policy may not be top of the list, especially after a lengthy mortgage process. However, it’s important that advisers make sure homeowners don’t rush these decisions, as it could be the difference between having the right level of cover and facing unexpected costs in the future. Explaining the terms and conditions clearly to homeowners is vital in making sure they’re protected from unforeseen events.
Application processes have evolved
When applying for a quote, the insurance industry has moved on a lot, to make this quick and easy for advisers and customers. Many providers have developed digital platforms and tools and for intermediaries we offer SmartQuote, which gives an accurate quote in as little as 90 seconds by answering five easy questions. This ensures the process is as quick as possible for advisers and taking advantage of these types of platforms can help add value and provide efficiency.
Multi-channel claims processes
It’s not just the application process that has become easier and more streamlined though, as claims processes have also advanced. The use of digital technology such as chatbots allows clients and customers to manage their insurance claims quickly and efficiently, instead of reporting a claim over the phone. This provides them with choice in how they want to interact with their insurer.
At L&G General Insurance, our SmartClaim technology allows clients to easily make claims by uploading the relevant documents, such pictures of any damage and the relevant proof of purchase.
Understand your client’s circumstances
There are other factors you’ll want to check before selecting the right policy or provider for a client. Some clients may like to pay monthly rather than annually, may need to make mid-term adjustments, or cancel the policy if their circumstances change. It’s worth checking if any of these may apply, for example if they’re due to move house and if there will be any fees.
It’s also a good idea to check and explain to clients about policy excesses. For example, some policies may have voluntary and compulsory excesses. It’s important to make sure your client fully understands this, so they know what they’ll need pay in the event of making a claim.
Using tools, tips and advice from insurers
If the coronavirus pandemic and the slowdown of the mortgage market last year has taught us anything, it’s that advisers should be looking to future-proof their business by offering a more holistic service, including considering a client’s home insurance needs. To help advisers better understand the home insurance sector, providers have been working hard over the past 12 months to educate advisers through training courses and educational tools, such as webinars, workshops and blogs. For example, we’ve recently launched a GI Club for advisers to support and help them grow their general insurance business. The GI Club offers advisers access to weekly drop-in sessions and provides useful tools and ideas for advisers to use when speaking to customers about their general insurance needs. It also provides access to bitesize training modules and guest speakers, as well as offering a creative space for advisers to share and develop fresh ideas together. Advisers can register for sessions by accessing the GI Club page on the Adviser Centre.
Advisers should take advantage of these resources to help further their knowledge and develop their understanding of wider industry issues and opportunities in the sector. Not only will this help them expand their business offering, but it will also make sure advisers have the on-going knowledge to meet the needs of their customers.