You have been in your current role for almost four years. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry in that time?
The biggest changes I have seen over recent years would be the increased regulation applied by the FCA with the introduction of General Insurance Pricing Practices (GIPP) and Consumer Duty. This made firms take a step back and challenge their decision-making to ensure products deliver fair value and good outcomes for their customers. The other major change which springs to mind is the change in customer behaviour in the way they research/consider/purchase their policies. This has challenged us to find new ways to communicate with our clients so we can catch their attention.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
My core responsibility within the business is to support the team to deliver against our objectives for the current year while keeping us on track for our five-year mission. My week can be very diverse, from pitching to the board one day, to supplier meetings, right through to coaching and mentoring the team around me to fulfil their ambitions.
As a distributor, I think the major challenge is in the quest for more refined pricing
What are the major challenges now for travel insurers?
As a distributor, I think the major challenge is in the quest for more refined pricing. From collating data in quite specific customer segments, we could be sleepwalking into an environment where a percentage of the population becomes uninsurable as we move away from cross-subsidisation. Given our wide customer appeal, that’s really important to us, so I’m always thinking of ways to mitigate that on behalf of our customers. I worry about what risk customers may take when faced with significantly higher premiums.
The Post Office is an iconic 360-year-old business. How do you make sure you move with the times without alienating customers?
As a business with 11,500 physical branches as well as a website with millions of visits a week, ‘omnichannel’ is important to us. If customers want that in-person service, which we know many people value, then we can provide that. For the more digitally savvy customers, who want to manage everything electronically from quote to claim, we can do that too. It’s what our customers want from us, and I’m really pleased to be part of a business which has that range and can make each channel work for both business and customer.
From an insurance perspective, we continually test new markets/products to increase our reach and relevance for consumers
How important is new technology to the business, and what do you think the next innovation may be?
New tech is extremely important, and my view of where tech can best enrich customer experience is within the claims service. How can we make the process as seamless and friction-free as possible? It is an active workstream my team and I currently exploring.
How is the Post Office adapting to ensure its longevity?
We continually review consumers’ needs, especially for those most vulnerable in society, with our access-to-cash initiatives with many bank closures in recent years, for example. From an insurance perspective, we continually test new markets/new products to increase our reach and relevance for consumers. A good example of this is our recent travel enhancement Medical Assistance Plus, which provides access to English-speaking doctors, either virtually or in destination, via pre-booked appointment without an excess deducted and is included free with every Post Office Travel Insurance policy.
Following the pandemic, the industry has gone from strength to strength, and I don’t see that slowing any time soon
Has the huge increase in digital nomads impacted the products you offer?
No, it’s something that we were able to cover as standard as we rolled the business cover add-on into the base policy some years ago.
How do you see the future of the travel insurance industry?
Following the pandemic, the industry has gone from strength to strength, and I don’t see that slowing any time soon. This creates a great opportunity for brands to invest in the sectors and bring further innovation and new ways of thinking.
I think the world is becoming ever more accessible and customer appetite to try new things is on the up. As insurance distributors, we will need to be alive to these changes and ensure we continue to evolve our propositions to reflect our more adventurous travellers.