A PR problem for insurers

Tomorrow's Business

How much do you love your insurance company?

Does it give you a warm feeling all over, a certainty that it will be there for you when it counts, will pay claims swiftly and without argument?

I’m being facetious. If you have any feelings towards your insurer whatsoever, you pretty much hate them. They are like banks but with more small print.

In theory, insurers ought to be the perfect business for the post Covid future. Everyone pays into one pot, those who need it make claims when disaster strikes. We are in it together, beholden to each other.

In reality, people just expect that their insurers will leg them over if they can. They base this expectation on experience.

M’learned colleague Oscar Williams-Grut reports here on couples losing thousands of pounds due to cancelled weddings. They had bought insurance against this possibility but, guess what, the insurers won’t pay.

Hiscox, a 119-year stalwart of the UK insurance market, is accused of failing to honour business interruption policies.

There is already an action group that plans to take the company to court.

Two years ago Aviva ran into trouble when it decided to cancel “irredeemable” preference shares. It was shocked when investors thought irredeemable meant what it means and complained. Aviva backed down after much embarrassment and a massive hit to its good name.

This was not the fault of the PR people I should say, who probably went to bed each night weeping at the idiocy of the directors.

If you Google Aviva + guaranteed you can read of the insurer’s “guaranteed selection”, of its “enhanced guaranteed funds”, of how its “guaranteed fund” lets investors “lock in profits”.

If the insurer turns out to think that guaranteed means the same as irredeemable – i.e. nothing at all, expect a massive stink.

Insurance company PR is so nimble of course that it won’t make this mistake again*.

*they will make this mistake again. I guarantee it.

Contact the Tomorrow's Business team news@tomorrowsbusiness.co