BLOG: Risky business?

MARK HADAWAY: Insurance is a risky business, and I don’t just mean that in the literal sense.

A recent encounter with an insurer in attempting to change the vehicle on an existing policy brought to life everything I hear (often from insurers themselves) and see about insurance in the UK… it’s a painful experience.

To briefly put into context, I have been with my current insurer for several years (four), happily casting an eye over the annual renewal proposal and, if it appears a sensible figure and without cross-referencing, allowing it to simply roll over for another 12 months. The media would have you believe this is almost unheard of ‘loyalty’.

So with that in mind, having purchased a new (used approved) vehicle of a comparable nature to the previous, albeit a few years (10) newer, I expected a smooth transition to a minimally revised premium – how wrong I was.

An initial lengthy call provided me with an uplift of some £180 on the policy which, I hasten to add, was already four months into its current term. This I considered a little on the steep side so stated my case about being a ‘loyal customer’ and before I knew it this uplift was reduced by a very small margin.

Not content with that and whilst still engaged in conversation I quickly hopped on a comparison website which is where things really started to get interesting. So having completed all my details exactly as they currently stood (and appear on my current policy), the very same insurer was offering me a full 12 month’s policy based on all the same terms, for a mere £40 rise in my annual renewal.

With the above in mind I obviously stated my case and continued with the ‘loyal customer’ theme – getting nowhere and being told about how ‘risk changes’ – in my opinion a bit of a flawed argument considering what I had on the screen in front of me. Inevitably, I was soon put on hold – clearly this conversation had gone off script and I was very quickly becoming an inconvenience. Left to hold for some 10 minutes I concluded my custom, at 6pm on a weekday evening, was somewhat surplus to requirements and terminated my attempt to insure my vehicle on this occasion.

Later that evening, another comparison website search bought up my current insurer offering a full 12 month’s policy, again based on exactly matching criteria, at a mere £5 uplift on my current policy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out my thoughts about this.

The following day, following a request to speak with a manager and several hours later receiving a call back, being given the same excuses and having to once again run through all my policy details, I settled for an uplift on my policy – half of what was initially quoted.

So there you have it – a truly poor (in my opinion) experience of the world of motor insurance. Now I do fully appreciate this is just one example but from it, is it any wonder the world of motor insurance suffers with a poor reputation? Goodness knows what would happen if I ever had to call upon the policy!

Without doubt a few home truths came to light during the experience – none of which are complementary to the insurer in question and the reality is I’m now more keen than ever, when renewal comes around, to find the best deal for me.

It would seem that in the world of the giants, there is no loyalty or value placed on the customer – seems strange considering how much importance is placed on the service of others to represent them…