ABI: Non-executive directors vital in treating customers fairly

Non-executive directors (NEDs) have a key role in ensuring financial service firms serve their customers well, says the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

The message came at a special workshop for over 50 NEDs (Thursday 5 February) on the implications of the FSA’s Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) initiative. The event is part of a wider ABI strategy to engage with NEDs on a range of issues, so they are better equipped to fulfill their roles.

Sarah Wilson, Director of TCF at the FSA, addressed the audience and emphasised:

– the need for boards to look at the needs of consumers when setting business strategy
– that boards must ensure that remuneration and incentives are aligned with a TCF culture
– that boards have ultimate responsibility for TCF

Maggie Craig, the ABI’s Director of Life and Savings, said:

“For insurers, and indeed all financial service companies, embedding of the FSA’s Treating Customers Fairly initiative will be vital to their ongoing success. Non-executive directors have a central role in this. They will have to engage throughout their organisation and, if needed, be prepared to challenge the culture. I’m encouraged that so many non-executive directors from financial services firms have demonstrated their commitment by attending this event.”

A recent example of the industry’s work to treat customers fairly is guidance for ABI members for dealing with protection insurance claims where the customer has, unintentionally, failed to disclose medical and other information. This guidance, now upgraded to a Code of Conduct, has helped to halve long-term protection complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) since it was introduced in January 2008.

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Notes for Editors

1. Enquiries to:
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2. The ABI is the voice of the insurance and investment industry. Its members constitute over 90 per cent of the insurance market in the UK and 20 per cent across the EU. They control assets equivalent to a quarter of the UK’s capital. They are the risk managers of the UK’s economy and society. Through the ABI their voice is heard in Government and in public debate on insurance, savings and investment matters.

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