London, UK, 13 August 2004 – ICT Eurotel, the European operating division of ICT Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ICTG), a leading global provider of customer management and business process outsourcing solutions, has warmly welcomed the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) regulation of the General Insurance industry, which will come into effect in January 2005.
Speaking shortly after submitting the Company’s registration application, Martin J. Puttock, Managing Director of ICT Eurotel, stated: "The application process may be rigorous, requiring significant adjustments to our internal business processes. However, we expect the outcome to be extremely positive and complying with the FSA’s ‘Advised Sales’ status to help further improve the already established, proven best practices of ICT Eurotel. FSA compliance will more closely align us with the service performance objectives of our financial services clients and ultimately, the consumer will benefit."
ICT Group is an ISO 9001:2000 Certified organisation. Compliance with FSA regulations will expand its current compliance requirements and help further distinguish ICT Eurotel as a Company that is committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and customer service.
The FSA will regulate all mortgage and pensions business with effect from 31 October 2004, and all general insurance business from 14 January 2005. As a result, all organisations selling these products and services will be required to be authorised by the FSA to do so. This regulation will also apply to outsourced contact centre services, such as those provided by ICT Eurotel. The deadline for applications to be processed (in time to meet the deadline for General Insurance) passed on 13 July 2004. Companies that did not meet this deadline may not receive authorisation by 14 January 2005.
"By its very nature, regulation must be rigorous to be effective. The FSA requirement for General Insurance is designed more for insurance companies and brokers than third party service providers, and is specifically designed to ensure that the interests of the consumer are paramount and protected. ICT Eurotel is prepared to comply with these regulations, which may be too burdensome for other companies, and we intend to be ready to serve the needs of insurance customers when the FSA regulations go into effect on 14 January 2005."
FSA regulation introduces a number of changes for call centre providers. For example, as insurance intermediaries, they must take necessary measures to ensure that consumers are sold insurance policies that meet their particular requirements. Regulation also requires extensive examination of existing business processes to ensure compliance with FSA threshold standards in areas such as sales processes and scripts, staff recruitment, training, documentation and reporting. Authorisation can be as ‘Advised’ or ‘Non-Advised Sales’ status, depending on whether the organisation offers advice on product or service selection.
"Deciding to comply with the FSA regulation application process was rather logical", explains Puttock, "as ICT Eurotel has considerable experience in the financial services sector. This process has allowed us to scrutinise our business from top to bottom as well as to review many of our processes in order to ensure that we are implementing our standardized ‘best practices’ across the organization, throughout each of our critical business areas. We expect that this compliance will further improve the quality of service we provide as well as help aid in securing additional new business for our financial services clients. While the regulation may reduce the number of call centre providers within the financial services industry, it will certainly help to ensure that we meet the genuine needs of consumers in this sector more effectively."
For further information and advice about the provision of customer contact services in the new era of FSA regulation, please contact Puttock on 01895 274 901