Despite regular calls for insurance to be made compulsory on mobility equipment, the desire for a quality offering is a constant top of the agenda item for the vast majority of dealers up and down the country.
In this month’s special report, we catch up with the industry’s most prominent insurance providers and find out just how a top insurance product can benefit dealers and their customers.
ON THE PANEL:
Greg Morris, Engagement Manager – Mark Bates Ltd
James Nicholls, Managing Director – First Senior Group
John Traynor, Head of Business Partnerships, FISH Insurance
What specifically, in your insurance offering, really benefits the owner/end-user of a mobility product?
Greg Morris: Public Liability is the most important benefit of our insurance product as we have found that even the most careful of drivers can fall victim to circumstances out of their control.
With cover up to £5 million we will cover claims should you accidentally injure someone or damage their property. This is closely followed by Accidental Damage. We understand that for most of our customers their mobility scooter or powerchair are their life line to carrying out every day activities and should they have an accident whilst using their scooter we will cover the cost of repair or replacement by one quick phone call to our in house specialist claims team.
James Nicholls: Clearly the most important level of cover is Public Liability – potentially protecting the user’s hard earned savings and even their home. The most common claims are obviously accidentally damage and we pride ourselves on ensuring the claims are dealt with swiftly and with minimal fuss for the client and their repairer, therefore getting the client mobile.
John Traynor: The 2 levels of cover we offer allow flexibility depending on customer requirements. This could include things like the value of the scooter and whether the customer requires breakdown assistance. We also offer tailored rates for Scooters and Powerchairs over the value of £10,000, ensuring customers with very expensive equipment have adequate protection in place. The whole idea with our product is that customers are equipped with the confidence to travel independently without the worry of being left liable for a claim if the worst should happen.
How do you work with dealers and retailers up and down the country to ensure customers can easily obtain insurance?
Greg Morris: At this current time we have 7 Sales and Training Executives that travel the width and breadth of the country visiting our Appointed Representatives to make sure they are fully equipped to provide all the required information to any customers seeking insurance. We have always believed our dealers to be an extension of us and that is why it is so important we conduct regular visits; whether this be to carry out refresher training or just a quick chat and a cuppa.
Mark Bates Ltd have also recently launched the Business Dashboard (dealer portal) which allows our Appointed Representatives to process policies in real time and the customer to be covered as soon as they leave the shop; this provides the customer the peace of mind that they are covered from day 1.
James Nicholls: Firstly, our sales team cover the whole of the UK and we are always happy to pop in and discuss how insurance, finance, warranty and roadside recovery, helps their clients which in turn helps them. We are always happy to conduct one-to-one training or group/Team training. Well trained dealers give good correct advice and quite often are much more profitable, so we champion dealer training whenever we can as we see it as vital for the consumer and the dealer.
John Traynor: We have 3 levels of relationship available to retailers that wish to work with us. Those with an ‘Agent’ relationship hand out marketing collateral and application forms to prompt customers to get in touch with us directly. ‘Introducer Appointed Representatives’ (or IARs) can pass customer details through to us so we can call them back and arrange cover. Whereas ‘Appointed Representatives’ (or ARs) can actually sell the insurance in-store on our behalf.
Retailers working with us on any of these levels of relationship receive commission for every sale referred to us. Those selling the insurance also receive full staff training to enable them to feel confident helping customers with cover.
How are you certain that the customer will be offered the insurance product that is tailored to them and in turn, ensures that they have the right product that covers them entirely?
Greg Morris: Mark Bates Ltd pride ourselves in treating the customer fairly and this is why we create a list of demands and needs that we run through with the customer. We make sure the customer is fully knowledgeable on all our offerings before making a final decision.
We are also constantly evolving our product to meet the demands of not just the customer’s needs, but also the questions asked during the sale of a product.
James Nicholls: The first point is to ensure the retailers and their staff are trained to a very high standard. Secondly every insurance sale made by a retailer receives a friendly call from one of our compliance team, to ensure the quality of service they received meets the high standards we set and that the retailer has dealt with the consumer in a compliant manner as set out by the FCA.
John Traynor: The training we offer retailers empowers them with the knowledge to recommend the right level of cover for customers depending on their needs. Alternatively, those with an Introducer Appointed Representative status can pass customer details through to us and our team of product experts can talk the customer through the options and find the most suitable. This option is a great fit for many retailers as it means our experienced staff will effectively act as additional team members for you, speaking to your customers and ensuring that you get the sale and commission.
What plans do you have for 2020? How do you see the market and therefore your offering evolving?
Greg Morris: Our aim is to become a one stop shop for all insurance products, so our priority is to grow the number of subsidiary schemes we have available. Offering our existing customer base policies that are tailored to them, but also allowing our dealer network to earn much more commission for introducing a customer to us.
The mobility industry is ever changing in regards to evolution of products and we are always looking to tailor our policies accordingly; we currently have schemes in the pipeline due to go live in the next few months. As well as new customer facing tools and dealer support innovations to come. Our motivation for 2020 is to offer both our customers and our partners more than ever.
James Nicholls: We have designed some amazing packages for powerchairs and scooters over £6000 up to £30000 but still with affordable premiums, which we really want to get across to the whole mobility market. Also, we are continue developing our online CPD training. The FCA are now enforcing all companies that all their staff conduct a minimum of 15 Hours of CPD every year.
We are aware that this sounds like a bind, but we have created a simple platform for our retailers and all their staff to do this and we are creating new things on the platform every month which will enhance the staff’s knowledge, improving the customer’s journeys. Also as the only finance company dedicated solely to lending in the mobility market we also have an exciting product for retailers that will be launched in Q2 of this year.
John Traynor: Throughout 2020 we will be continuing to support our network of mobility retail partners, ensuring that they have all the tools they need to offer insurance protection to every customer. We understand the importance of these retailers and the invaluable expertise and customer experience they can offer those purchasing mobility equipment. Alongside our retail providers, we appreciate that more and more customers are going online. With this in mind, we’ll be looking to streamline the online purchase process to help retailers make the most of this online market and then provide insurance to their customers.