Trust in the Financial World - Not
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Churchill Insurance - home of the friendly bulldog that says "Oh Yes!" - has been shot in the paw. It's been found guilty of tampering with files to make them look better.
So what's happened?
A couple of years ago the Financial Services Authority was investigating customer complaints made to insurance companies. It demanded that Churchill Insurance and Direct Line hand over files on complaints that had been settled and closed.
But the FSA found that some of those files had been tampered with, information altered and even some staff signatures forged.
The FSA imposed a £2m fine on the two companies.
So what's the issue?
Churchill have built a Brand based on trust - the reassuring bulldog, the advertising strapline "Oh, Yes!" together with "Count on Churchill" built a great Brand story.
So the Brand Damage here is all about betrayal of trust.
• Insurance is a financial service where trust and probity are paramount factors
• There's a big disconnect for consumers between the advertising and reality
• Staff and management were disconnected from the company values
• In an instant, the work of years has been undone
Should we be surprised?
Sadly, probably not surprised, definitely disappointed, though.
And there's a final piece of irony here. Churchill and Direct Line are now both owned by bank RBS - the bank the UK Government had to bail out for around £40bn and formerly run by none other than the infamous Sir Fred Goodwin.