Vulnerable customers programme. One year on…

As a company we are judged by our customers on our ability to deal with vulnerabilities affecting their lives. Our insight into the needs of vulnerable customers helps us create products and investments which help people through difficult times. We bring in experts to improve our service. These experts are typically charities and social enterprises. In 2015 we delivered a number of initiatives relating to how we deal with vulnerable customers:

Policy issues

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Understanding customer vulnerabilities eLearning platform (screenshot)

We published our first ever ‘Vulnerable Customer Policy’ for our employees. We shared this with our stakeholders, including distribution partners, regulators and government to get feedback on its focus and development.

  • This has eight questions to ensure that managing directors of our key businesses can prove they have embedded this policy into their business.
  • We began deploying an e-learning solution for all employees to highlight the relevance of the vulnerable customer agenda.

You can meet Ruth here who introduces the topic:

1 in 4 customers have vulnerabilities

We use front line surveys with our employees to understand customer vulnerabilities. These surveys focus upon how well our employees are able to cope and where they need training. In 2015 we initially focused upon service-based employees moving on to face-to-face financial advisers. Our research showed that 1 in 4 interactions with customers identified a customer vulnerability. This resulted in our bringing in experts in to train our employees.

Training our employees

We used the insight received from these surveys to improve our employees’ knowledge and understanding of how to deal with vulnerabilities.

Group wide information on our intranet provides employees with “How to” guides from external experts. These on-demand learning modules help employees prepare in advance for discussions with customers.

Organisations that helped train our employees were:

  • Ageing Population with Elderly Accommodation Counsel
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia with Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Flooding with the RNLI and Warrior Programme
  • Debt Awareness with Step Change
  • Terminal Illness with Marie Curie
  • Dealing with Disability with New Horizons

In addition our award winning social investment fund has a number of social enterprises funded by Legal & General to help solve later life opportunities. For more details see Rachel Mortimer at

More specialist training for specific business units included:

  • Understanding hidden diversity in customers for all of our ‘Learning & Development Professionals’
  • Dementia Friends training for our Retirement and Retail Investments teams
  • Dementia Awareness for Insurance and Mature Savings senior management teams
  • AGE UK ‘Call in Time’ for our Mature Savings teams in Hove
  • Contact centre Deaf Awareness by Action on Hearing Loss for Investments teams in Cardiff
  • Our HR First Call teams and Investments were trained by Maggies on working through cancer
  • Tax Help for Older People work with our Retirements on customers on low incomes and smaller pension pots.
  • Samaritans training for our Bereavement teams in Mature Savings

Critical Friends in reviewing our business

A major investment for us has been to look at how we increase the number of “critical friends” who help us to review existing products and services offered to customers. This complements our existing product life cycle management reviews.

  • Our debt recovery processes have been critiqued and enhanced with suggestions from StepChange
  • Our Power of Attorney processes have been critiqued and enhanced with suggestions from Action on Elder Abuse
  • Our over 50s life insurance propositions have been critiqued and enhanced with suggestions from Elderly Accommodation Counsel, Intergenerational Foundation and Royal Voluntary Service
  • The accessibility of our ISA and unit trust business have been critiqued and enhanced with suggestions from the New Horizons Day Centre
  • Our Mature Savings website and call centre have been critiqued and enhanced with suggestions from Engage and Create who are experts at simulating Dementia

Critical Friends also help us with new product development.

  • A review of minimum savings limits on saving products with Fair Finance, Credit Unions and Step Change
  • ‘Elder Care Services’ new product design with Elderly Accommodation Counsel, Intergenerational Foundation and Royal Voluntary Service

We will continue to use surveys and critical friends from the not for profit sector to help improve our service, processes and innovate new products.

Market Inclusion

For a number of years we have been actively publishing and monitoring our market inclusion as a company. With governments spending less on financial safety nets for the citizens and with our ability to pool risk as insurers and to innovate new products we can measure our ability to include harder to reach markets.

We currently publish UK data only. 







Percentage of UK population according to Fresco






Percentage of our UK customer base






We’re particularly worried about three social groups, which we believe are under more pressure than other to make ends meet let alone worry about the future:

  • Green shoots are young students/first jobs and newcomers to financial services. We know that the pressures of finding jobs and getting a secure roof over their heads is getting more difficult.
  • Grey days are low earners and only likely to use very basic banking and insurance services. Our work with credit unions shows that there has been a significant increase of people in this area.
  • Pink fizz are mainly young singles with busy lives, private renting or mortgaged and credit users. We know getting that first step on the housing ladder can be difficult. 

We are pleased to report that our retail business had 16.6% of its customers in these groups in 2015, which increased from 15.3% in 2014 which is a 1.3% increase year on year. For 2016 data we have had to rebase the segments we measure as Fresco has further segmented these harder to reach parts of the market. The current analysis of our customer base is as follows. We will be trending this information over time.

Fresco Segment

% of Legal & General’s Retail Customers

Still At Home


Starting Out


Rising Metropolitans


Poorer Parents


Working Singles & Couples


Home-Owning Families


High Income Professionals


Older Working Families


Mid-Life Social Renters


Asset Rich Greys


Road To Retirement


Low Income Elderly


Looking Forward to 2016

As we see an increased expectation from regulators, employees and investors in how we deal with emerging vulnerabilities in society, we have a number of priorities for 2016 for our vulnerable customer committee:

  • E-learning for all to provide insight into how this agenda applies to retail and asset management side of our business, UK and Overseas
  • Monthly critical friend reviews on new and existing products
  • Business Audits on adherence to the Vulnerable Customer Policy
  • Continued UK Infrastructure investment in parts of the economy that need long term funding to reduce consumer vulnerabilities.



Continue to deliver the Vulnerable Customer Training Programme to improve our customer service scores.