Ugh. Hell’s teeth, that’s been a dull morning. You’d think buying insurance would be straightforward, what with so many companies competing for my business and so on. But no, it’s all backwards. One ends up spending hours giving the same details to each company, and asking the same questions. And in every case, some stupid loophole opens up, rendering the entire conversation pointless. For me, the crippling factors are the usual bêtes noires of being self-employed, occasionally working from home, and having a stupidly expensive laptop that I dare to use for work, carry in a car, and so on.
I propose two things for the insurance industry, beyond the obvious eternal damnation in the flaming pits of hell:
Firstly: stop pretending that people like me – ie. self-employed, working in multiple fields and at multiple work sites, at some of which we also live – are unusual. We’re not, most of us just lie because it’s the only way we can get covered. Car insurance is a huge issue here, since getting covered for business use can be nightmarishly hard, as a result of which many people just wing it on an unaltered domestic policy. Which is, of course, illegal. This is plain wrong, and it’s the industry’s problem to deal with it because there are only going to be more freelancers in the future. The banks have got an awful lot better at coping with us in the last ten years: it’s time you did too.
Secondly: stop believing your own hype about being customer-focussed, and take a fresh look at the whole business model. It sucks, and it must be losing you customers through people just not bothering with cover.
Why, for example, is there nothing like an eBay for insurance? A site where prospective customers could list their requirements, and where insurers could bid for that business. Hmm… actually, that’s not a bad idea.
(before anybody bleats in a patronising fashion: yes, my car and video/computer gear are all covered appropriately. Though it wasn’t easy to insure the PowerBook for business use. No, ‘bunging it on your house contents’ doesn’t work, read the policy again.)