Suppliers Must Also Deliver Consumer Duty Obligations

At a recent meeting of around 50 different representatives within the claims supply chain – spanning repair, IT, legal, and other sub-sectors – there was an interesting discussion around the new Consumer Duty rules. The meeting had a collective sigh of relief from suppliers, who are not directly part of the regime.

We know that insurers have a whole new host of things to think about, plan for, and implement. But the perception that suppliers have escaped the ‘burden’ of these new regulations is simply incorrect. Any supplier’s key role is to help meet the needs and desires of their clients (at a profit to themselves), and so logic dictates that if a client has Consumer Duty obligations to meet, then the supplier must also be a part of that solution. Nor am I referring just to those suppliers that may have some formal delegation of claims management authority. Every supplier of any element of the claims journey must understand these new requirements fully, and leap to over new solutions that will help their clients.

Gaining Competitive Advantage

Surely those suppliers that are first in the queue to over their support and services will be looked upon most favourably when the next batch of tender documents arrive? The question around ‘added value’ that a supplier could proffer as part of the tender response is invariably filled with corporate
waffle or, even worse, financial inducements that have never been asked for.

Instead, it would be a refreshing change for a supplier to position themselves as a firm with a genuine understanding of the\new needs of their clients, and respond accordingly – not that you should wait
until the next tender comes along to gain advantage! I wonder how many suppliers have proactively started a conversation with their Supply Chain Manager or Claims Director in order to throw their hat into the ring as being part of potential Consumer Duty solutions…

Proactive Support Wins the Day

In a great many instances, it is the supplier that has direct interface with the policyholder, and will be the ‘face’ of the claims department. But even where this is not the case (IT companies, for example), there is still a continuous obligation on suppliers to build system, process, and people skills/knowledge around helping the insurer to work within the new regime.

Of course, I am aware that suppliers already provide a great many supportive services above and beyond their core products. But
that is the name of the game. Tesco does not supply ‘free’ parking in addition to their core food and associated products because they really want to – it’s because that is a support service that their customers
demand and expect. It’s part of the total

The same goes for suppliers who expect to win business from the insurer and claims management communities. If your clients have a need to fulfil l Consumer Duty regulations, then it is the responsibility of suppliers to be at the forefront of providing some of the answers.

Fortune Favours the Brave

Of course, it may cost money. It will certainly take up management time. There will be a need to change operational processes, and perhaps new IT solutions will be required as well. But if that is what’s needed – and you want to stay or become a premier supplier to your clients – then you need to make a start right now. The new regime is still in its early days, and this provides a tremendous opportunity for suppliers with foresight and commitment to get in at the ground level, embedding themselves into any new elements that the claims department needs in order to comply with their Consumer Duty obligations.

Get on with it!


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