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Lessons learned during the pandemic

Brokers / 7th July 2020

Jon Howells, Chief Commercial Officer, shares his experience on the challenges he and his team faced, how they were overcome, and how this experience has ultimately placed us in a stronger position than before the onset of the pandemic.

One of the areas that I’m responsible for, and that was most impacted, was our underwriting team. In its most basic form, the biggest challenge was trying to get a realistic read on a business’s ability to make their repayments on any instalment or loan agreement. Prior to the pandemic, our decisions would be based on information that was retrospective. We would have looked at a business based on their filed accounts, a credit score and any payment history we had with them. Overnight, businesses closed, and incomes disappeared so historic performance wasn’t a true reflection of the challenges a business was facing. We needed to gather real-time information from individual businesses to determine the impact on their respective cash flows, whilst also keeping abreast of the changing regulatory guidance and fiscal support available to businesses. We faced a predicament of needing to evolve whilst endeavouring to reduce the burden on our partners and their customers whilst gaining that information.

We managed the situation by:

  1. Developing a triage type score card that enabled us to assess a business based on our derived high-level risk factors. (The high-level risk factors were derived from our own experiences of customers who experienced challenges in the early stages of the pandemic as well as considering wider, economist and consultancy views.
  2. Bolstering our underwriting team by adding three new commercial underwriters that we moved across from our agency underwriting team
  3. Increasing our front-line resource to do more of the score carding and triaging by moving resource across from other areas of our business and backfilling with new recruits
  4. Launching a fast track process for loans with a higher refund-ability

We have taken the following proactive steps as part of our plan to prepare for the future. Firstly, we’ve grown our commercial underwriting team by 25% through new hires who will be entering the business over the next weeks. Secondly, we are actively engaged in reviewing the full end-to-end customer onboarding journey and all the associated internal processes. This will be an ongoing programme, but we will be prioritising the areas where we have seen some pinch points through recent weeks as we expect demand for this highly valued product to continue as prudent financial leaders look to preserve their available cash flow.

Whilst no one can accurately predict what stages the recovery will take and where further waves and potential lockdowns may occur, Premium Credit are continuing to invest and evolve their processes to deliver the service for our partners to give access to funding for their insurance.

Whilst no one can accurately predict what stages the recovery will take and where further waves and potential lockdowns may occur, Premium Credit are continuing to invest and evolve their processes to deliver the service for our partners to give access to funding for their insurance.
Jon Howells, Chief Commercial Officer, Insurance Premium Finance, Premium Credit
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