Insurance telesales needs to be made more honest

The training of telesales agents by long-term insurers needs to be improved in order to avoid contravening tougher regulations protecting customers from purchasing financial products because of misrepresented or wrong information.

Brian Galgut, an ombudsman for long-term insurance, advised this and yesterday said that new powers that have been given to the Financial Services Board (FSB) penalize insurers that offer incorrect or shoddy service.

In just his office they received over 9,000 complaints over 2% more than the previous year which until this last year was a record. He accepted the fact that telesales agents were cost effective for the insurers but said they were not always beneficial to the customer.

There are some recorded conversations that his office has listened to between customers and agents and it is obvious that the agent did not have good quality product knowledge, and in other situations used language that was common within the industry but could have caused confusion to a potential client.

The insurance industry defends the need for telesales agents by stating it lowers customer’s acquisition costs because of the commission to the agents being relatively low in comparison to a broker. But many experts in the industry say that a broker gives the customer a face to see and be confident with and in this industry confidence is one of the biggest factors with many customers.


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