In early 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced guidelines outlining the fair treatment expectations for vulnerable customers as part of the Consumer Duty rules, which are mandatory for all financial services companies to follow.
Vulnerable customers are individuals who, due to their circumstances, are particularly susceptible to harm. The FCA categorises vulnerability based on four key factors: life events, resilience, capabilities, and health.
Our client is a management consultancy that delivers change programmes to a wide range of public & private companies. They wanted to identify challenges faced by vulnerable consumers when interacting digitally with insurance providers.
In light of the FCA’s Consumer Duty Regulations, the research aimed to assist our client’s efforts in assessing and improving their clients’ processes, technology, and skill sets.
Savanta were commissioned to gain insights into vulnerable consumers’ online experiences when purchasing and receiving service interactions from home and motor insurance companies. The research aimed to identify areas where potential harm may arise.
We conducted a qualitative approach to see and hear from first-hand experience the practical and emotional impact that digital interactions with insurance companies can have on their customers.
The in-depth approach was also instrumental in sensitively exploring the vulnerabilities consumers have.
We individually interviewed consumers across all four groups including visually impaired, profoundly deaf, following a brain injury, with poor mental health, unable to speak English, recently bereaved, divorced or lost their job and with low digital capability.
Most were 60-minutes on a video call using a web-along technique allowing the respondent to share their screen to see their online experience ‘live’, including seeing their facial expressions & body language.
The rest were either face-to-face or on the phone to ensure we spoke to those who were totally digitally excluded or struggled significantly online.
We uncovered the emotions and outcomes that the online experience of shopping for insurance, renewing or claiming had and found that potential harm ranged from emotional stress and anxiety to paying too much for insurance or, if help were not at hand, being unable to insure themselves.
We delivered the findings via a report, a debrief, detailed case studies and video/audio clips.
We used our findings to lay out a set of improvement steps that insurers should follow to adhere to the new Consumer Duty rules and ensure that customers feel confident, reassured, positive and valued – which would later lead to loyalty to, or switching towards, a provider, as well as recommending them to others.