Signposting is a practice used by many firms when a vulnerable consumer is identified. It can take many forms, from a partnership approach, to simply providing contact information for a popular national charity such as Age UK or Macmillan. In many cases, organisations can signpost without any liaison with the charity and services can be reactive or require the client to progress. 

Through MorganAsh and its experience in medical underwriting and vulnerability assessment, managing director, Andrew Gething, argues that simple signposting has a poor chance of success, particularly for those suffering from a combination of issues. He also believes it doesn’t go far enough to support those in severe distress. 

Andrew Gething, managing director of MorganAsh, said: “From our work with ill and vulnerable consumers, we have identified that many will often state one issue to hide an underlying one, while signposting itself fails to support those with multiple issues or where the consumer is expected to proactively make contact. As a result, it has a poor chance of success and the potential to increase harm for the consumer.

“Consumer Duty requires firms to demonstrate at least annually that the vulnerable are experiencing no worse outcomes than the resilient. We know from recent surveys that vulnerable consumers do experience worse outcomes, so the emphasis is on firms to prove this is not the case, or more likely, to identify these vulnerable cohorts and have a plan in place to rectify this. While signposting has found favour as a zero cost option – especially if firms can digitise this approach – it may not be effective and could result in more harm. That’s especially true if it turns out that the signposted organisation is not suitable or is inaccessible to the client.” 

Through its award-winning MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS), MorganAsh provides firms with multiple options to assess consumers, from short digital questionnaires to user assessment to nurse assessments for more complex cases. For example, a financial advice firm may use the extensive online questionnaire for some risks, but for high risk investments they may use the nurse led assessment to ensure all vulnerabilities are disclosed.

Within MARS, MorganAsh provides a nurse support service to assist advisers in providing help to highly vulnerable clients. MorganAsh is partnered with specialists to then refer on to those who can help, such as addiction clinics and translation services.

It is part a full suite of services, including appropriate treatments – or next steps – which are automatically triggered when customer vulnerability is detected. In total, MARS now has more than 80 standard treatments which can be configured for each organisation. 

MARS helps firms to both understand and monitor vulnerable customers through clear and consistent assessments. Businesses can identify vulnerability characteristics and generate an objective MARS Resilience Rating – much like a credit score.

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We have completed several medically underwritten bulk annuity exercises. The MorganAsh service has been an important element of these exercises, enabling us to obtain a successful outcome for our clients.

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