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To inventorize the perceived service quality of the A.s.r. intermediary

Hengstum, Quirijn van (2015) To inventorize the perceived service quality of the A.s.r. intermediary.

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Abstract:After a number of recent financial affairs in the Netherlands the Dutch Ministry of Finance created the Financial Markets Amendment Decree on the 1st of January 2013 with the intention of improving the knowledge and understanding of financial products by consumers as well as increasing the quality these products and the given advice. An important part of this Decree was that financial intermediaries would be prohibited to receive any form of commission for the products they are advising from the insurance company or provider of those products. The Dutch Ministry of Finance forged a separation between the financial product and advice and obligated financial intermediaries to charge their customers directly for the latter. The enforced changes in the remuneration system will require a significant turnaround in the business operations of the insurance intermediary as the financial advice will no longer be “hidden” as part of the whole insurance product but should be a distinct charge on the invoice of the consumer. The Dutch insurance group a.s.r. conducts a large part of its business through independent intermediaries. The aformentioned changes will therefore have a significant impact on a.s.r. as well. A.s.r. will use this graduation research to help the intermediaires that are struggling with the recent changes and that are searching for ways to better coop with the new forms of remuneration. A solid first step in helping these intermediaries is to evaluate how their customers perceive the service and service processes. Is the intermediary actually delivering quality services? The goal is to come up with a model to evaluate the quality of the service model currently used by the intermediary. As a first test group this study will be used as an addition to an existing support class given by a.s.r.; the Cedep master Class. The research question answered in this thesis is ‘How can the quality of the services and service processes of the 2013 a.s.r. Cedep intermediaries be inventorised and using that information how can these intermediaries improve these services and service processes?’ Previous literature gives guidance about how the intermediary can provide good quality services. The studies show that financial advice itself can increase decision accuracy of the consumer and can also improve his or her financial situation; given that the advice is indeed actually used. The intermediary can advance the advice utilization by increasing its knowledge and expertise, by taking into account the opinion of the decision maker and by adapting their approach to the type of customer. Past literature also gives the broader roles that intermediaries ought to fulfill in the future. The insurance broker should focus more on providing professional consulting services, on support in the risk management process, on using their network and on being innovative. This graduation adds to this substance of literature by focusing directly on how a specific intermediary should improve its service according to their clientele. In this study an adapted SERVQUAL method is used to measure the service quality of the intermediary as perceived by their current customers. The model focuses on 23 distinct attributes of the service model whereby delivering quality services means the perception of the service aspect is fulfilling or even exceeding the expectation of the customer. The sample in this study consists of the clients of seven intermediaries that participated in the 2013 Cedep master class as well as one voluntary participating intermediary. The SERVQUAL was conducted through an online questionnaire over the period January to February 2014. A personalized email invitation was send to the clients of each participating intermediary and the data was evaluated and benchmarked against the whole group. Additional questions were asked to measure the need for other channels for information exchange and communication. The results reveals that the SERVQUAL methodology is suitable for measuring both the service quality of the 2013 a.s.r. Cedep intermediaries as well as other intermediaries. The model has a high reliability and validity and is positively received by both the participating offices as well as their customers. It allows the insurance broker to monitor its service quality and evaluate introduced changes. The model gives the intermediary insight in what aspects of its service model is performing above and what aspects below expectations. The study also reveal that the intermediary has the right intentions as it comes to being a good service provider. Customers find them willing and able to help; they trust the intermediary and view them as friendly with a neat and professional appearance. There are however some aspects that are performing less than desired. The customers want their intermediary to be more proactive; to improve its up-to-date knowledge and keep them more informed about relevant news. The survey also fathomed the need for other types of service channels to enhance this interaction. The study shows the existing forms of communication such as email, telephone, newsletter and direct contact are still most favorable over newer forms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. An important reason for this might be that the customer of the intermediary at this moment is commonly above the age of forty. Intermediaries should take into account that with the growing popularity of these newer forms of media especially among younger generations in the near future there might be more demand for communication and information exchange through these channels. The intermediary would do best monitor this demand and adapt to it early on.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/67135
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