"It's vital that we continue to get the protection message across and talk to customers in simple terms about the value and reassurance that comes from having the right cover in place."
We spoke to Steve Marshall, CEO of Reassured, about how the pandemic has affected new life and health insurance sales and why the opportunity for sales is still very buoyant.
FR: Reassured has become the UK’s biggest insurance broker in the space of just ten years – what’s next for the business?
Put simply, more growth! Earlier this year, we hired our one thousandth employee and protected our millionth customer. The business is where it is now because we’ve focused on recruiting excellent people and giving a great customer experience – these are the driving forces behind Reassured’s success. I’m confident that even when we make our ten thousandth hire and protect our ten millionth customer, these values will still remain.
In terms of goals for this year, we launch our direct to consumer buy-now proposition in July which is certain to be a game changer for us and the protection market as a whole.
FR: How has Reassured responded to the challenges of the pandemic from a business perspective, but also from the perspective of an employer?
From a business perspective, our biggest priority was the ability to continue to offer impeccable customer service. We sourced and issued hundreds of laptops to staff over a 48-hour period after the announcement of lockdown, which allowed our operations to continue remotely; we barely missed a beat when it came to transitioning.
As an employer, we’ve been extremely mindful of our employees’ mental health. From the outset, we prioritised transparency and communication from management to staff. By providing regular company email updates to employees, satisfaction surveys and one-to-one virtual meetings, we were able to make sure everyone was coping well and felt adequately supported.
We realised through lockdown that it’s the person, not the location, that determines success at work. If our employees continue to do an amazing job working from home beyond the pandemic, we have no reason to stop this from happening. They can continue to work flexibly between their home and the office and have the best of both.
FR: A recent report from Swiss Re revealed that new life and health insurance sales fell by 1.2% in 2020, the first drop since 2013. How does this compare with your experience in the market over the last 12 months?
Quite the reverse. In terms of new business, 2020 was a record year for Reassured, and we saw a large increase in customers searching for life insurance online – which suggests interest hasn’t wavered through the pandemic.
Across the industry, it’s vital that we continue to get the protection message across and talk to customers in simple terms about the value and reassurance that comes from having the right cover in place. From our perspective, the opportunity for sales is still very buoyant.
FR: What are the major challenges within the insurance market at the moment?
Products are not often designed with the customer in mind. Insurance products can be complex to understand, especially critical illness and income protection cover, and may baffle most people. So, it’s vital for insurers to develop policies that are easy to understand and access.
We tackled this challenge head on by developing our own critical illness product, in partnership with a reinsurer, that’s simple and clear to understand. With just three questions, customers are able to get an immediate decision as to whether they’re eligible for the cover when they speak with one of our specialists.
Looking ahead, we plan to develop a greater number of products to engage a wider section of public and serve more customers more efficiently.
FR: What trends do you expect to see within the insurance market this year?
If our future intentions are anything to go by, I expect to see a greater focus on technology solutions so that we can deliver products to the customer as efficiently as the general insurance sector.
I also expect to see more product innovation as technology enables insurers to offer bespoke solutions to distributors of significant scale. For Reassured specifically, the focus is on the intelligent use of our own expansive data. This, we predict, will fuel even more growth in the coming years and help us to protect more and more people.
FR: If you could see one headline about the insurance market this year, what would it be?
“Buying cover to protect your family has never been easier”!