It’s not often you can start off an article about insurance with a quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge but, when the chance comes, you grab it. So here goes, “Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” Now we all feel better for a little culture, let’s get on with the serious stuff. The folk whose thankless task it is to sell the insurance industry and its products do routine surveys to find out just how bad the insurers’ image problem is. This year, yet another set of figures shows the industry’s rep at another all-time low with particular popularity problems for the policies supposedly offering coverage against damage to the home. Now why should that be
Well, during a recession when family budgets are really under pressure, there’s a change of attitude. In the days of boom, most people would have simply pulled out a credit card and paid for damaged contents to be replaced or repairs to be done. Unless it was a major loss, it was quicker and easier just to pay. With the days of bust showing no signs of going any time soon, families now find it better to claim every time there’s damage. If they are paying the insurance premium, they want value for their money. Not surprisingly, this threatens the insurers’ profit so they reject claims, go slow on negotiating a payment or just pay a token amount. This often proves a wake-up call to households we had not realized just how hard it is to separate insurers from their cash.