"We are seeing new distribution models enter the market frequently, new ways for customers to buy insurance at the click of a button, and more active product development. "
We spoke to Rob Gaunt, head of commercial management and distribution quality management at Legal & General, about a post-GDPR world and the biggest challenges currently facing the industry.
CR: As head of commercial management and DQM, what does your day to day role involve at Legal & General?
I’m responsible for developing our Insurance business in line with key performance metrics, by ensuring our commercial and distribution quality teams drive activity to improve business efficiency, competitiveness and distribution quality. There’s no such thing as a typical day in my role, but that’s why I love what I do so much.
CR: Legal & General launched earlier this year a customer risk and opportunity management programme to improve the customer experience. With GDPR now implemented, how is this affecting the industry/use of customer data?
Since announcing at Legal & General’s Business Quality Awards this year, our Customer Risk and Opportunity Management Programme is well into the soft launch stage. We are continuing to meet with our key distribution partners and work closely with them to improve our market leading insight programme. So far, the feedback we have received is very promising and we are committed to delivering a real positive change in data analytics.
GDPR was implemented with the customer in mind, just like our CROM programme. The importance of customer interaction is arguably even greater now than it ever has been, and any support we can give our intermediary partners to assist with these discussions is a good step forward. From what we are seeing, the industry as a whole is taking data protection seriously as they embed the required changes into their own processes.
CR: You have worked at Legal & General for over eight years, what is the biggest change to the industry you have seen in that time?
It is very difficult to pick only one change, given I was working in Legal & General’s Savings division when the Retail Distribution Review was implemented and before auto-enrolment came into force. That said, the insurance industry appears to be constantly changing and evolving.
We are seeing new distribution models enter the market frequently, new ways for customers to buy insurance at the click of a button, and more active product development. Of the changes that really stand out though, the growing importance and use of big data and intelligence is really impacting the market.
Our distribution partners are actively looking to understand more about their customers’ experiences, behaviours and habits; life providers and reinsurance partners are also analysing big data and ultimately have a wealth of relevant information at their disposal. This is why we’re always looking to improve our DQM programme by providing our distribution partners with even greater insight and analysis. Ultimately, the end customer is at the heart of what we are doing.
CR: What do you think is the biggest challenge to the industry right now that advisers need to be aware of?
In line with GDPR, managing customer communications is one of the biggest challenges for our industry – striking the right balance between keepings customers informed and forging relationships to assess their needs. The positive impact generated from this focus will be improved customer retention, greater satisfaction and improved productivity.
This is the area that should always be given continuous focus, as from our experience, retention is often overlooked. Most businesses rather look at where new customers and business comes from, which can be costly and inefficient. Additionally, the relationship between distributor and customer, and providing true value to the latter, is one of the areas we wish to see further improvement.
CR: If you could see one headline about the insurance market in 2018, what would it be?
‘Consumer trust in life insurance products is at an all-time high’.
The issues around trust is a stain on our industry and one that I believe all of us can, and should help, change.