Car Insurance

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The results are in in the Auto Express Driver Power insurance survey for 2008 and we were pleased to finish in a creditable 11th place in the survey, showing last year’s rise from 40th to 17th wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

With this result being the outcome of actual customers responses, we’re especially happy that our customers seem to have a good opinion of us, a testament to all the hard work which has been done in improving the customer experience over the last few years, even though we certainly think there’s room for further improvement.

I think the results are even better for the fact that, as a broker, a certain amount of the customer experience is out of our hands and relies on our panel of insurance providers. Particularly so when you consider that the unusual and specialist cars we often cover are much harder for the insurance companies to deal with, especially if there is a claim.

Because of that, I think the value of dealing through a decent broker is demonstrated when you see that some of the companies on our panel are languishing in the bottom 10 of the rankings – so it seems that you really can get demonstrably better value AND better service by going through a broker, despite what Direct Line would have you believe.

Of course, the broker you choose has a big impact – otherwise Endsleigh, Budget, the AA, Swinton and the Post Office wouldn’t be in the bottom ten.

And now, a la Jeremy Clarkson, I’ll explain why we actually did even better. The top four companies are all, in a way, cheating. I don’t mean that they aren’t doing really well for their customers, because they are. It’s just that if you aren’t an elderly trade union member living in the country, you won’t be able to get a quote with all four. SAGA and RIAS concentrate on the ‘mature’ markets, Frizzell targets only union (and similar organisation) members, and the winner, NFU, will only quote drivers with a rural postcode.

Obviously that’s fair enough, but it does give these companies an easier ride in the survey stakes, because they can tailor their products and their customer experience to their very specific niche. In our case, managing the conflicting expectations of classic car owners, high net worth individuals and modified jap import enthusiasts, for example, is much more of a challenge. Our staff have to learn about hundreds of products, and then have to deal with customers who are so dramatically diverse that they need treating in quite different ways. And it even comes down to things like the hold music – which everyone complains about, but for different and often opposite reasons.

So, all in all, an impressive showing, and for anyone who might have been disappointed by our service in the past: we’ve got much better – it’s official, and we’re aiming to improve even further, so perhaps it’s time to consider giving us another go.

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