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David Castling10 November 2017
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It’s that time of year again, autumn is here and the kids are well into the swing of school. It’s also apparently the renewal period for a number of different policies in my house – something I’m alerted to by the arrival of policy documents for house and car insurance pinging into my email inbox.

I opened and scanned the first email, fully aware that if I didn’t renew it in time my policy would just auto-renew. I looked at the quote and was surprised. The quality of cover was the same as last year, I’m the same as last year (just more grey hair) and the car is worth less but sadly the insurance price had gone up by 30 per cent.

My current insurer is a well-known brand and I was more than happy to stay with them, so I thought a simple renewal was straightforward.

Confused and a little annoyed I called their contact centre.

I like the brand, was happy with the insurance and didn’t really want to have to talk to anyone about it. I just wanted to renew. But if the price was going up, I wanted to know why. I’m a low-maintenance customer which I thought would be a good thing.

The woman on the phone was helpful, courteous and with the familiar Northern twang of a fellow Geordie which set me at ease. The folk in the North are great at that. If you ever get the chance to speak to our contact centre in Durham I’m sure you would agree.

She went through my details which revealed a number of inaccuracies. We corrected them all, but she told me the new premium was still £100 more than last year. As you would expect, I was a tad confused. I asked her to store my quote while I shopped around now frantically and unsuccessfully trying to tap my details into a comparison site while on the phone.

Then, she simply offered matching last year's price if I was happy to renew.
And this is the crux of the issue. If they’re prepared to do this, and it works financially for both me and them, why do we do this merry dance at all?

I felt inconvenienced. It costs money for them to employ the staff member and take the call. All for business that would have happened anyway. Plus the brand I liked and trusted just lost a little bit of it’s shine.

This experience has made me feel even more appreciative of the way Digital Mortgages by Atom bank works.

Right from the start we made a decision to treat customers in a fair, transparent and adult way.

We want to be rewarded with loyalty and engagement.

We are clear and transparent.

We will never charge our customers a fee unless we can show them what that cost is for.

We like transparent banking. You’ll always know where you stand with us. It’s just the way that Digital Mortgages by Atom bank works.

So it’s a happy ending to the story – now my insurance is renewed (even though there’s been a little respect lost). I’m just waiting with baited breath to see what next year's renewals will bring...