Challenges of treating customers fairly in the funeral insurance industry
The principles of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) universally apply across all industries be it a provider of tangible goods, services or credence value goods. In the services industry where sold value is not easily demonstratable treating customers fairly is of great importance.
Regulators especially in the financial and insurance sector require providers to deliver six TCF outcomes to their customers. From the product life cycle, from product design and promotion, through advice and servicing, to complaints and claims handling it is crucial that customers are treated fairly.
The six outcomes are:
1. Fair Treatment
2. Products designed to meet needs
3. Clear information
4. Suitable advice
5. Products perform to expectations
6. No unreasonable post sale barriers
In this blog I am going to interrogate each outcome juxtaposed against the reality that we witness daily in the funeral insurance industry, especially when it comes to funeral director policies that offer goods and services to Diasporans.
Consumers can be confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture.
With specific reference to Diasporans who are transnational citizens, how can funeral directors’ policies live up to the transnational flexibility required to serve this niche market? There 10 Reason Why A Funeral Directors Provided Policy Is Likely To Fail A Diasporan.
The fact that traditional funeral insurance policies were originally structured on the assumption that one is born locally, lives locally, dies locally and eventually gets buried locally makes the policies very rigid and struggle to sustainably deliver fair value especially to the diasporans. Diasporans’ location and needs when it comes to final resting place tend to be very fluid.
A flexible policy like the Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan comes with zero rigidity as the policyholder can choose repatriation, reverse repatriation, burial abroad and even cremation and still use the same policy. The issue of flexibility becomes even more important given The 14 Reasons Why Diasporans Are Increasingly Getting Buried Abroad.
With cash in hand the bereaved family can also choose the best provider for the desired send-off at their point of need instead of having a policy that forces them to accept service from a provider whose service may not necessarily meet their dynamic needs as a transnational citizens.
Consumers will likely be short-changed if a provider is selling policies in jurisdictions like the UK without any FCA approval because without authorisation they don’t have FSCS protection. A simple check on FCA Register tells you which provider is authorised and regulated.
Takeaway point: If you are a Diasporan, your location and preferences are not fixed and your policy provider has failed to treat you fairly if it assumes that when you die you will be repatriated from a certain location and your remains interred back home. People, especially diasporans’ location and burial preferences tend to be fluid and a funeral policy targeted at them needs to speak to that otherwise there is no culture of treating customers fairly in product structuring and service delivery.
Products designed to meet needs
Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified consumer groups and are targeted accordingly.
When it comes to funeral policies targeted at Diasporans the idea of offering consumers policies on the assumption that they will be repatriated from a certain location at the end of their lives no matter when that happens is simply selling consumers hot air.
I know a lot of people who lost funeral policies they paid for for years simply because they relocated out of provider’s territory or opted to be buried abroad. People’s location and preferences are fluid.
Transnational citizens like Diasporans need completely versatile funeral policies like Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan which is equally transnational because cash knows no border. This is highlighted in the 12 Reasons Why Cash Denominated Funeral Policies Are By Far Better
Your location and choice of where and how you want to be buried may change, but your funeral cash plan will serve you no matter what.
Takeaway Point: A fair policy should speak to the needs and reality of the policyholder even if their location and preferences change overtime. Never be caught in a situation where your policy is invalid or can’t adequately serve you if you relocated, or you no longer want to be repatriated.
Transnational policies like Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan is the answer for Diasporans.
Consumers are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale.
Does your policy clearly state what happens if you were to relocate to another country or what would happen if you were to opt for burial abroad or get repatriated from your country of origin to your adopted diaspora country?
Does your policy have a clear long-term value? For example, if you are blessed with say five decades after taking your policy would you or any family member remember the type of casket or service you bought?
Won’t the caskets be out of fashion? Perhaps this lack of clarity partly explains why bereaved families are always asked to top-up?
When it comes to clarity and lack of jargon it does not come any better than Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan which offers guaranteed acceptance and a hard-currency denominated cash policy with no medicals on application nor on claim.
Cash knows no border which makes Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan a worldwide protection without borders with a certain and clear long-term value.
Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan is that simple and pay-out is guaranteed within 24hrs of receipt of proof of death. No top-up gimmicks. Bereavement time is a trying time for families and having a hassle-free policy guarantees immediate financial intervention which helps survived loved ones to celebrate the life departed with peace of mind.
Takeaway Point: If your funeral policy leaves you with unanswered questions always be worried that it may never work for you when you need it most.
Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances.
This is probably the most important of all the TFC outcomes. A suitable funeral policy should speak to the consumer’s needs and reality be it short-, medium- or long-term.
The best way to assess suitability of a policy is to juxtapose it as a solution against your evolving needs today, tomorrow, and in future. Try and fast-forward into the future and ask the hard ‘what if?’ questions. What if, by choice or by default you end up relocating to another country, maybe to live with your child in retirement? What if you end up opting for burial abroad? What if you were to die in a faraway country on holiday or visiting?
Suitable advice should never leave diasporans with a rigid funeral policy that doesn’t speak to the reality that their location and preferences change.
Traditional funeral directors’ policies offer goods and services from the policy provider and that creates rigidity as there is lack of global capacity in case policyholder’s location and preferences change.
Takeaway Point: Suitable advice when it comes to funeral policies for Diasporans who are transnational citizens is to be covered on a hard currency cash-denominated cover. Cash knows no border and there will never arise a situation where a bereaved family could be stranded with cash in hand.
Products perform to expectations
Consumers are provided with products that perform as firms have led them to expect, and the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as they have been led to expect.
The whole idea of having a funeral policy is to guarantee oneself a dignified send-off and to give survived loved ones a chance to celebrate the deceased’s life without stressing about funeral expenses.
As a Diasporan, imagine your policy failing you because you relocated, or you opted against body repatriation. Hundreds of millions of people live outside their country of birth and to lock them on funeral policies that assume that they would be repatriated for burial in their country of origin when their time comes is a very rigid proposition.
It simply means the policy may never benefit the policyholder even after years of paying premiums. People’s location and preferences always change and for a funeral policy to perform as per expectations it should be useable whether one chooses repatriation, burial abroad or even cremation.
Takeaway Point: for a policy to perform as per customer expectations it must be versatile enough to address any change in customers’ needs and reality and nothing beats a hard currency and cash-based funeral policy like Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan.
No unreasonable post sale barriers
Consumers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.
Treating customers fairly requires that there are no post sales barriers or poor customer service. This should include issues of customer protection by making sure that they are entitled to compensation schemes should anything go wrong.
Bereavement times are hard and by making the claim process very simple providers like Diaspora Insurance can guarantee claim settlement within 24hrs of receipt of proof of death. Immediate financial intervention gives bereaved families total control to plan and celebrate the life of their loved ones without the hassle of ‘top-ups’ or having to deal with a whole list of expenses that are not covered.
Product structuring should also not be rigid so as to short-change policyholders because their location and preference changed post sale.
Takeaway Point: Provision of a versatile hard currency and cash-denominated funeral policy backed by excellent customer services and claims handling team has made the bespoke Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan policy a household name.
In conclusion, treating customers fairly is very important and helps in protecting consumers. Diaspora Insurance takes treating customers fairly very seriously and it’s embedded in the culture of the company. Hopefully, the above discussion helps people, especially Diasporans to review their funeral policies and make the correct decisions whilst they can.
If you want to know more about how a funeral cash cover works visit DiasporaInsurance.com. 24/7 Quote & Apply: Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan, Your Dignified send-off, Guaranteed!
Tose Gava is a UK based Financial Advisor & Insurance Specialist