British Insurance Recognised as PPI Consumer Champion

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Simon Burgess, Managing Director of independent PPI provider British Insurance, has been recognised as an Outstanding Consumer Champion by judges of the Global Business Excellence Awards.

Simon Burgess, MD British Insurance

Whilst it's nice to have my efforts recognised via this Award, I would rather the selling of PPI alongside the source of credit was outlawed. Until radical changes are made, I will continue to represent consumers and ensure their voice is heard.

Simon Burgess, Managing Director of independent PPI provider British Insurance, has been recognised as an Outstanding Consumer Champion by judges of the Global Business Excellence Awards.

Burgess has lobbied Payment Protection Insurance providers to treat customers fairly for years, advocating that this type of cover - paying a monthly income should the claimant fall sick, have an accident or be made redundant - should be affordable, accessible and properly sold.

Mounting evidence that consumers are being sold policies they will be unable to claim on and facing excessively-high premiums prompted the Competition Commission to investigate this sector in February 2007.    Burgess was instrumental in raising awareness of the mis-selling issues, working alongside bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Office of Fair Trading and Financial Services Authority, before it was escalated to the Commission.

He harnessed the power of the media, 'naming and shaming' High Street banks and building societies that were making profits at their customers' expense. Having moved PPI mis-selling higher up the media's agenda, Burgess was able to use this medium to more-widely inform consumers of their rights prior to purchase, raising awareness that people could shop around for products and source more comprehensive cover more cheaply. He ensured the decision-making and empowerment shifted from PPI provider to consumer.

Although British Insurance was lambasted by its peers for publically criticising competitors' sales techniques, poor claims rates and inflated premiums, Burgess continued to campaign on behalf of consumers.

He comments: "The Citizens Advice Bureau lodged a 'super complaint' with the OFT in September 2005 and it was then referred to the Commission. For the past three years I have worked with the media and trade bodies to keep the pressure on providers who do not fully identify customers' needs before selling PPI and in my view, quite simply rip them off.

"Whilst it's nice to have my efforts recognised via this Award, I would rather the selling of PPI alongside the source of credit was outlawed. Until radical changes are made, I will continue to represent consumers and ensure their voice is heard."

On announcing the Award, the Global Business Excellence judging panel said: "Over the years British Insurance has tirelessly lobbied trade bodies, providers and the media to ensure consumers get a better deal when it comes to Payment Protection Insurance.

"Simon Burgess, Managing Director is recognised as a consumer champion by the media, appearing on tv, radio and regularly in the national press. British Insurance actively encourages all to follow its mantra of; treat customers fairly, make payment protection more accessible to a wider market and boost consumer confidence in a product that's been seen to be failing its purchasers. This Award is richly deserved."

The Awards recognise and reward business excellence across the public and private sectors and are given to firms that demonstrate they are working smarter than their competitors and have that business edge.

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