By: 31 July 2020
Access to insurance firmly on insurance brokers’ agenda, says BIBA

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has formed a multi-sector access to insurance committee to drive forward progress in helping consumers access suitable insurance protection.

Chaired by Caroline Barr, formerly a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, the independent statutory body set up to represent the interests of consumers, the access to insurance committee also includes Graeme Trudgill, executive director at BIBA, and insurance industry disability champion Johnny Timpson.

Representatives from insurers, brokers, charities and other stakeholders have also joined the committee.

Trudgill said: “The group we formed as part of the signposting worksteam in the access to insurance steering group led by Johnny Timpson was highly productive and, as its work completed, we agreed we should harness the determination and ambition of the group to drive forward wider access to insurance. BIBA was delighted to be able to facilitate this.”

The main aim of the access to insurance committee is to help consumers access different types of insurance where they face challenges due to age, medical conditions or disability, or because of prevailing conditions.

Barr explained: “We have a fabulous opportunity to represent insurance as a force for good, by collaborating to help consumers. Signposting means that firms can point a customer to assistance even where they themselves cannot find cover for them. What we need is more awareness of signposting and more collaboration. This can be a game-changer for many facing difficulty and is why I was delighted to be asked to chair the access to insurance committee.”

The committee will provide operational oversight of: the Protection Agreement (launched in January 2020); the signposting services provided under the separate Agreement on Age and Insurance (launched in 2012 and recently extended); and the upcoming travel insurance directory provided by BIBA for those with pre-existing medical conditions seeking travel insurance.

It will evaluate and review performance of the agreements and processes, and take opportunities to promote signposting awareness and participation across financial services and the charity sector.

Timpson said: “I welcome the establishment of the new BIBA access to insurance committee and its commitment to improving signposting to aid all consumers, especially those with visible and/or non-visible disabilities and/or health conditions, better access the insurance information, advice, cover and outcomes that they need.”

The response of the insurance industry has been immediate and positive with all committee members enthusiastic about participating.

Committee member Kathryn Knowles, of protection insurance specialist broker Cura, said: “I’m honoured to have been asked by BIBA to join the access to insurance committee. At Cura we have hundreds of introducers signposting their clients to us and we, in turn, signpost our clients to others when their needs are outside our specialism.”

“As someone that was once declined insurance due to my health and now as a specialist protection broker, I bring a unique perspective of both consumer and adviser. Fair access to insurance is incredibly close to my heart so I will do my utmost to make this initiative a success.”