Although the new Policyholder Protection Rules (PPRs) are a concerning matter for all parties, one thing is certain: a strong partnership approach between insurers and intermediaries is critical. The rules call for the insurer to proactively communicate key aspects of policies directly to policyholders. The question is how to collaborate on communications to create optimal outcomes.
Michele Jennings, CEO of Sanlam Employee Benefits: Group Risk, believes the purpose of PPR is to keep policyholders better informed and prevent them from being overwhelmed by information. Forward-thinking insurers such as Sanlam have realised it’s an opportunity to simplify communication and add real value to members’ lives. This is something positive to share with your clients.
‘We partnered with Sanlam Reality – South Africa’s second-largest loyalty programme – to create Reality Access for Sanlam Group Risk (SGR),’ Michele says. ‘All members of SGR policies automatically qualify for this exclusive, broad-based value-add designed to make 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 most need reassurance.’
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. ‘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.’
Michele believes intermediaries can play a key role in ensuring members know their information is safe with the insurer and that it’s necessary for seamless communication. ‘Members need to trust us with their data. Intermediaries can play a big part in creating awareness of PPR and sharing this data with us.’
PPR has shifted the industry dramatically and intermediaries and insurers must bear responsibility for compliance. Sanlam, taking on the bulk of the communication, can alleviate some of the expenses and admin for intermediaries. Michele adds that it’s also important to streamline the process as much as possible. ‘For example, having multiple insurers communicating to members simultaneously may be overwhelming for them. So there’s a definite benefit in selecting one insurer with one standardised set of communications that comply with the rules.’
Insurers like Sanlam are looking to make intermediaries’ lives as easy as possible, she says. ‘We know the PPR brings a raft of legislation with which all stakeholders must become familiar. For example, Rule 21 on replacement policies places the onus on the intermediary to convey material differences in policies when a client switches from one insurer to another. This can be laborious, so Sanlam provides communication material that condenses our offering into an easy-to-understand, visual format for members. We believe this will simplify matters for all our partnering stakeholders.’
Michele emphasises that Reality Access for SGR is one way to comply with PPR. It provides discount vouchers and helplines, but also gives members access to a Wealth Sense portal providing them with very simple advice and online tools and calculators to keep them on track when it comes to saving and money management. ‘It’s mobile-friendly and complements the advice a trusted intermediary can provide.
‘It’s about partnerships. Intermediaries often underestimate the necessary work to meet PPR requirements. We play a valuable role in having a PPR-compliant offering that you can place in front of clients, which offers them instant value. SGR members are rewarded for sharing information with us and we treat this data with the appropriate governance. We create a positive impact in people’s daily lives, and reward members for other events not covered in terms of their policy.’