Inside Admiral

The Canadians Protecting Admiral's Most Vulnerable

With the cost-of-living crisis stretching personal and household budgets beyond their limits, a project led by a Canadian team is reshaping how Admiral offers stability to our most vulnerable customers.

Formed in the early days of the pandemic, Affordability consists of seven agents across Canada and Cardiff Customer Assurance. The function works co-operatively with customers experiencing financial hardships to get their insurance payments back on track, so they can stay mobile and avoid impacts to their day-to-day lives.

"You put yourself in the customer's shoes and think, 'What if I was struggling to pay bills and building up debt and didn't have that same assistance?" said Affordability Team Manager Sian Thomas of the nature of the team's work.

System of Care

Beginning in 2021, Affordability handled hundreds of cases a month, providing peace of mind to many whose incomes were profoundly jeopardized by the pandemic, but also those coping with other complications such as a terminal illness, mental health difficulties, or domestic abuse.  

"We looked at their payments and what they could afford and how could we accommodate that whether through respreading their monthly installments or deferring payments," Thomas added of the measures the team utilized. 

Fast forward to this year, and they continue to play a pivotal role in helping policyholders struggling amidst a climate of record-high inflation.

"Based on some back end updates, we could no longer offer the option to respread customer payments, so the team moved swiftly and began working with IT on sourcing an alternative support option," explained Keighan O'Laughlin, a Customer Assurance Executive on the Affordability Team. 

Keighan O'Laughlin

Last month, their work came to fruition as Affordability introduced a phone line vulnerable customers can ring to suspend a payment over 14 days past due. It allows the team to establish a dialogue more promptly to get ahead of future payment issues and offer necessary support. 

Shaping Expectations

Since going live last month, O'Laughlin says the feedback has been resoundingly positive. 

"The overall response we've received is that this is something that's quite unheard of when dealing with large financial services firms," he mentioned.  

A recent example of a piece of feedback the team received: 

The amount of stress I've been in lately in terms of finances has been very overwhelming. I recently lost my dad in December, prior to that my dad remained in the hospital. I'm now the only driver in my household and I passed because I needed to take responsibility for my family. I've never been in financial difficulty, and I'm just trying to get back on track. I can't thank you enough for helping me in my lowest time. It truly means everything.

To align other business areas with identifying and supporting vulnerable customers, the Affordability project team arranged training for over 3,000 colleagues to get them up to speed on the process. They've also worked with other departments to maximize awareness of how to identify a vulnerable customer and support them effectively. 

For Sian Thomas, the work her team is doing speaks volumes of Admiral's commitment to going the extra mile for our customers' futures.

"I am so incredibly proud of the team and everything they do. They hear some heartbreaking stories, and through it all remain objective and offer good outcomes and amazing service."