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Impact of Covid-19 on trust in insurance profession revealed

Publication date:

13 January 2021

Last updated:

18 December 2023


Chartered Insurance Institute

Small and medium-sized businesses have revealed their disappointment with the way the insurance profession handled claims relating to Covid-19.

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s Public Trust Index surveyed 1,000 consumers and 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in May and September.

Throughout 2019, 82 per cent of SMEs were satisfied with the service they had received from their insurer, but this figure has fallen to 79 per cent for businesses polled post lockdown.

Satisfaction levels for SMEs with business interruption insurance, which was the subject of an FCA test case, was less than for other products with only seven out of 10 content with their cover.

The survey asked SME bosses if their business had been affected by Covid-19 and organisations that were significantly impacted by measures to slow the spread of the virus were the least happy about their insurer’s performance relative to their expectations. 

The Chartered Insurance Institute has identified actions that insurers can take to ensure satisfaction with the profession improves:

1) Speed-up claim handling. Policyholder feedback highlights the importance of insurers not waiting for the legal position to be clarified before paying claims or reaching a settlement where the claim has some merit.

2) Show care and compassion. SME bosses revealed they want to feel they are dealing with compassionate human beings when they submit a claim.

3) Establish an ongoing relationship. SMEs that have seen a change in circumstances, and who have perhaps made a claim, wanted to know if that claim would affect their future premiums.

Matt Connell, director of policy and public affairs for the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “Clearly insurers need to make changes if they are to maintain trust and build a stronger basis for doing business with SMEs in the future.

“Insurers historically scored very well on showing compassion during a claim. The results of our survey post lockdown suggest the uncertain legal situation left firms less willing to engage with clients and more likely to use more ‘official’ language designed to minimise liability and avoid making concrete commitments.

“It is vital insurers learn lessons from the events of 2020. The watchwords for improving the experience for policyholders and engagement with our profession are speed, compassion and clarity of proposition.”

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.