Brightside Group is in the final stages of moving the vast majority of its 500-strong team to a home working operation in order to stay open for personal and commercial business, according to chief operating officer Richard Beaven as Covid-19 continues to disrupt the UK.
Richard said for the past 24 hours, 40 customer-facing employees have been serving customers, including renewals and new business, from their homes, armed with new equipment such as soft phones and new laptops, and he aims to have all 250 front facing staff fully operational from their homes by the end of this week.
“This has been a massive effort, but I’m delighted with the results. We are maintaining service levels in the high 80% in our three centres in Bristol, Southampton and Torquay. While we have reduced our hours to 9.00am-5.00pm, our customers have been very understanding and I am really pleased that our SLAs are holding up, despite the disruption.”
Richard said that Brightside has around 9,000 doctors and nurses as customers. “Our team were acutely aware that they needed to make sure our health service professionals stayed safe and insured to drive so they could continue to get to work.”
“It underlines the important role the insurance industry plays in keeping our essential services on the move during this crisis,” he added.
He continued: “We have issued new soft phone equipment to our people which works on their own computers or laptops which we have bought for them. They are equipped with special security measures to ensure compliance and data protection, so customers will have no concerns about their data security.”
Richard said that external factors beyond his control were his biggest concern. “There are UK-wide issues with broadband and the internet, because everyone is using the grid to its full capacity.”
He also said that the price of laptops and home computers has rocketed, in light of significant increases in demand from businesses implementing home working plans. “The availability of hardware is a problem, and we’ve seen same spec laptops double in price over the course of a week.”
Turning to the insurance sector, Richard said early indications are that the number of claims has dropped sharply, especially in motor, thanks to far fewer people driving. He expected that, over the next few weeks, that a fall in motor claims will be balanced by a likely spike in the number of home insurance claims following government advice that people must stay at home and not go out.
“The ability to manage and settle claims will also be impacted by the availability of claims people within insurance companies – which underscores the importance of everyone in the insurance sector being able to operate their businesses. If an insurer has to close their operation, the effects will be felt by everyone, so it is imperative that we all work together to keep the system going.”
He said Brightside’s decision to move its whole operation to a remote model for the time being was in order to meet “our clear obligations to be there for our customers during this very challenging time. The insurance industry’s corporate reputation is in the spotlight and we have to respond accordingly, even if that means rethinking what we do and how we do it.”