There's been a big rise in the number of people using Skype. We surveyed our own staff, and at least 15% are using it regularly to cut their own phone bills
(Vocus) January 7, 2008
An insurance company is claiming to be the first in its market to open up its switchboards to free direct computer-to-computer calls.
Specialist insurer Adrian Flux is now taking calls to its sales, administration and claims departments from customers using Skype, the software that allows free phone calls over broadband. The feature applies to both Adrian Flux and its Bikesure motorcycle insurance division, and is set to make calling for insurance not only free, but also extremely easy.
All calls go to the company's normal switchboard, but so long as callers use the company's Skype 'handles' ('adrianflux' or 'bikesure') the call is free.
"There's been a big rise in the number of people using Skype. We surveyed our own staff, and at least 15% are using it regularly to cut their own phone bills", said Gerry Bucke, Commercial Director at Flux. "As long as people are using it, their calls won't cost a penny, no matter how long, nor to which department".
A random survey of insurance companies shows a range of phone charges. Many insurers use 0800 freephone or 0845 lo-cost numbers for initial sales, but resort to conventional numbers or even 0870 numbers - with a hefty per-minute charge - for support or claims.
Gerry Bucke stresses another major difference calling by Skype makes. "It turns a phone number into a name. People type in 'adrianflux' or 'bikesure'. They don't have to remember our numbers.
"As time goes by, it's an odds-on certainty that dialling your insurer by name will be more appealing than having to remember a number."
And dialling is the key, he adds. Although a tremendous amount of insurance is now done online, a direct phone call can still help you track down the best deal - and is vital for claims and general queries.
To make a call using Skype, users install the free software on a computer and have a broadband connection and a headset/microphone or a special Skype-type phone. Alternatively, a conventional home phone can be used with a simple, cheap internet phone adaptor plugged into the broadband socket.
Adrian Flux aims to offer cheaper car insurance and has a huge range of policies for the motoring enthusiast. For details contact the Adrian Flux quote line on 0800 505 3000, email the company at quotes @ adrianflux.co.uk, or see the Flux homepage on http://www.adrianflux.co.uk
Toni Turner or Alison Haynes at The Publicity Works
Tel: 01263 761000
Email: flux @ publicityworks.biz
Gerry Bucke of Adrian Flux Insurance Services: 0800 505 3000