Although the new policyholder protection rules (PPR’s) are a concerning matter for all parties, one thing is for sure: a strong partnership approach between insurers and brokers is critical. The rules call for the insurer to proactively communicate important aspects of policies directly to policyholders. The question is how to collaborate on communications to create optimal outcomes.
Michele Jennings, Chief Executive Officer of Sanlam Employee Benefits: Group Risk, believes the purpose of PPR is to keep policyholders better informed and not overwhelmed by information. Forward-thinking insurers such as Sanlam have realised it’s an opportunity not only to simplify communication, but to add real value to members’ lives. Therein lies a good news story for brokers to share with clients.
“We partnered with Sanlam Reality – South Africa’s second-largest loyalty programme – to create Reality Access for Sanlam Group Risk (SGR). All members of SGR policies automatically qualify for this exclusive, broad-based value-adds aimed at making an immediate tangible difference to their lives. While discount vouchers to Shoprite and Checkers are one half of the offering, the other is human expertise when people need reassurance most.”
For intermediaries, it’s an exciting offering that adds human connection to clients’ lives in their darkest moments, with a 24-hour emergency medical response, trauma counselling and legal assist hotline, burial support and more. Jennings says, “It’s an innovative way for us to go the extra mile and given that PPR rule 13 now calls for us to have access to members’ data, we wanted to create a unique ‘loyalty-like’ offering in return.”
She believes brokers can play a key role in ensuring members know their information is safe with the insurer and necessary for seamless communication to commence. “It’s imperative that members trust us with their data. Intermediaries can play a big part in creating awareness around PPR and sharing member data with us.”
At the end of the day, PPR’s has dramatically shifted the industry, and brokers and insurers must take on the responsibility. Sanlam, taking on the bulk of the communication, can alleviate some of these expenses for the broker. Jennings adds that it’s also important to streamline the process as much as possible. For example, “having multiple insurers communicating to members simultaneously may well be overwhelming for members. So, there’s a definite benefit in selecting one insurer, with one standardised set of communications that comply with the rules.”
She says that insurers like Sanlam are looking to make brokers’ lives as easy as possible. “We know that the PPR’s brings a suite of legislation for all stakeholders to become familiar with and enforce. For example, rule 21 on replacement policies places the onus on the broker to convey material differences in policies should a switch be made from one insurer to another, which may take effort. Sanlam undertakes to provide communication material aimed at condensing our offering into a very easy-to-understand, visual format for members, which we believe will simplify matters for all our partnering stakeholders.”
Jennings concludes that Reality Access for SGR is one way to comply with PPR. While providing discount vouchers and helplines, members also have access to a Wealth Sense portal providing them with very simple advice articles, and other online tools and calculators to ensure members are on track when it comes to saving and money management. “It’s mobile-friendly and complement the advice a trusted intermediary can provide.
It’s about partnerships. Often, the work that needs to be done to meet PPR requirements is underestimated. We play a valuable role in having a PPR-accommodating offering that can immediately go in front of clients and offer them instant value. SGR members are rewarded for sharing information with us and we treat this data with the right governance. We create a positive impact in people’s daily lives, and reward members for other events not covered in terms of their policy.”