Disclaimer – Your IE Editor is an MCE policyholder.
MCE Insurance sent out an email today officially cancelling all policies from January 31st 2022. IE magazine contacted MCE’s website today and a LiveChat operative told us that this was due to the administrator winding down the operations of the underwriting arm, which has ceased trading. As MCE Insurance UK continues to trade as a separate company, existing policyholders have a choice of going with their partner underwriter Sabre, or looking for a new policy on the open market.
Many bikers are not happy with the situation, as they were told late last year that their insurance policy would remain in operation as normal and they didn’t have to do anything. On Twitter Mototingle tweeted;
`Have to go cap in hand to the FSCS for a partial refund…this sucks.’
Many others were also fed up and copied in Martin Lewis hoping to get some clear advice on whether they will get a refund pro rata from the FSCS for the unused portion of their policy, plus transfer of NCD bonus. Interestingly Lexham jumped in on the hashtag trying to sell cover to upset MCE customers, which is a bold marketing move that may, or may not, work out for them.
Back in November MCE CEO Julian Edwards told Insurance Business magazine that he was `speechless’ at what he believed were false statements being made by the Gibraltar regulator. Action taken in Gibraltar led to the collapse of MCE’s underwriting arm there before a new deal on capacity could be implemented.
In December Edwards went on the record with some strong comments;
“This is so wrong that I am ashamed to work in this profession,” adding “this is a vendetta.”
To date IE hasn’t heard of any legal action being taken by Gibraltar against Edwards, or vice versa, which is not to say those statements are true, but equally there may be some matters worth investigating by the EU or UK financial regulators at a later date, especially if all parties wish to retain the global reputation Gibraltar has as a financial services centre or hub for insurtech businesses.
It’s just a suggestion, but both MCE and Sabre really could benefit by issuing a joint press statement on their respective websites. At the time of writing there was no official word on either site.
On a positive note, MCE has long been working on flexible AI-powered, motorcycle policies which are essentially data driven, and enable bikers to switch off parts of the cover during winter, when few bikers venture onto UK roads. IE covered this back in March 2021. This is the perfect motorcycle insurance product for the UK market, which has been dominated by take-it-or-leave-it annual Fully Comp cover for decades.
Riding is a fun, generally weekend based, leisure pursuit for most of the UK’s 1.5 million two-wheeled users and frankly in January, it ain’t much fun. That means any insurer who can offer app-based, switch on/off Fully Comp vs Laid Up cover is onto a winner in marketing terms.
The problem for MCE will be in overcoming the barrage of criticism that is bound to be directed at the company for the rest of 2022. One way to defuse that anger would be for MCE to tell their side of the story to MCN, Mortons Media and the other specialist motorcycle media in the UK and Ireland. It isn’t enough to vent via the insurance press, since most bikers do not read websites like IE, Insurance Business and certainly won’t pay to read Times, Age or Post.
There is a way out of this marketing nightmare and it all hinges on exceptional customer service, consumer comms with real motorcyclist focused empathy, plus a few rewards being offered for long standing MCE customers who have say 5 years NCD or more (- no I am not one of them.)
There is much to learn from the new owners of Norton motorcycles.