I asked my Financial Adviser recently to facilitate some long term disability insurance on my behalf following a purchase a couple of months earlier of some term life insurance coverage with a prominent UK life insurer, Legal & General. To accelerate the process, I provided the insurer with access to full details of a recent comprehensive executive medical examination. At the insurance underwriter’s request, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire with in excess of 30 questions providing detailed health and welfare information, to verify I am who I purport to be and to declare in writing I have dark hair with increasing tints of grey! Somewhere along the line, in their underwriting rule book, they felt they needed me to take a medical exam to prove I wasn’t a smoker (despite my declaration that is not the case in their questionnaire). Due to the holidays and their medical adviser’s lack of availability, we are set to do that in mid-January. I have spent 8 weeks so far with a prospect of a further 3 to 4 weeks if I am lucky to bind coverage, participated in 9 calls, and completed two extensive forms. By all counts, I am in reasonable health, working in a low hazard occupation (other than walking across a highwire to do business with insurance companies) and an attractive insurance risk.
My point is that some businesses make it incredibly hard for customers to do business with them, and their own actions destroy the foundation of profitable growth – trusting customer relationships.
Legal and General has in excess of £50 billion of assets under management and growth prospects in key global markets are positive. Yet they risk a huge loss of customer goodwill with their current level of bureaucracy.
It is insufficient to rely on positive trends. Businesses, who want to profitably grow, need to evolve with the consumer, they need to educate customers better, they need to adapt their customer interface to enable the customer to buy their products and services faster and with less obstacles. Top management needs to shop their own business.
© James Berkeley 2013.