Huw Evans talks to Steve White, BIBA CEO; Jonathan Evans, BIBA Chair and Laura High of Yutree Insurance and BIBA Deputy Chair.
The session opened with Jonathan reminding us that for us the challenges of 2020 were about and that they way forward was to come out of it doing things better. For example already we have seen people in the workplace having more autonomy (because of working from home. That we are seeing a difference approach to mental health and finally there is no doubt that the industry has had to adapt enormously. Brokers and their customers have been forced for examine how they cope with a crisis. Laura added that for her she is passionate about insurance broking and what they do for customers. But added that for all being resilient had to be about thriving not surviving and that brokers will be a crucial element aiding the survival of SMEs.
Steve commented helping brokers adapt to the crisis representation regulatory and technical support helped brokers. Business means reacting and changing to crisis. support and how this demonstrated strength.
We have seen evidence of more workplace flexibility said Jonathan. However he added that people needed to be supported especially when not in the actual workplace. Though employers have always provided support the way it is provided is now different
When asked whether we have entered a new world of work Laura explained that she felt that we are seeing a welcome permanent change. “I was a strong advocate of flexible working before,” she said before going on to say that previously there was a lack of understanding of the actual benefits of flexible working for a business and the pandemic forced firms to recognise that flexibility really works. “We have taken the opportunity to rewrite employment contracts to give everyone flexibility when they do come back to the office. I hope we take this a a positive going forward as an industry and as a society.” ”
Huw asked about the negative publicity the insurance sector faced in the crisis and how brokers countered this
From the off SMEs began to feel the pressure of the pandemic Laura explained. And they perceived a lack of business interruption cover. But in many cases there was no cover, no one had priced for a pandemic and no-one was asking for the cover. Telling the truth became vitally important. Brokers had to explain to their customers the complexities of BI cover and to help their customers understand their cover
27.31 Huw asked “Bluntly Steve how did you help members? Through lobbying Steve said we were able to help make brokers eligible for business grants and got key worker status for some aspects of their work. BIBA discussed ongoing issues with insurers and they relaxes some of their policy conditions and requirements to help customers. We spoke to the regulator about fees and we continue to speak to Government on specific cases like trade credit insurance, domiciliary care and events. Before lockdown we sent updates to members once a fortnight, we upped that to one a day to keep members informed about the many changes happening. We created a Covid Hub, a PI Hub and put in place defence guidance to help brokers facing claims relating to Covid against them. Feedback was good.
Huw raised the unfairness of regulatory costs for brokers.
Steve mentioned that today (13 May) the regulator announced it was halving its proposed levy on general insurance intermediaries. BIBA played a role writing to the Insurance Minister at HMT and to the CEO of the FCA calling for a change in the model. We don’t need heavy regulation in our sector we need appropriate regulation. Following the model that Australia has called for in their similar regulatory architecture we want simpler better and more effective regulation. And to face the future the FCA should have an international competitiveness objective.
Asked of the speed at which (BI) claims are being pad the panel explained that they appreciated that many claims both valid and invalid would take time and the real focus should be on getting valid claims paid.
Asked how the insurance sector would approach the likes of the pandemic going forward Jonathan felt it would be a matter of evolution. That change would come through demand, supply and pricing would drive change as it always did for businesses.
Talking about dealing with people facing stress and vulnerability compassion and empathy were seen to be the key elements by Laura. Asked by the audience if the long wowkring hours being done by those currently at home would be expected on a return the office the answer was no that would be foolish. In this regard BIBA is working with MHIB on a Mental Wellbeing Benchmarking Study to create guidance on mental wellbeing in the workplace. Participate here https://lnkd.in/dia-zqY
And finally, when asked about lessons learned the Steve said it was the importance crafting policies correctly, making sure they were understood and getting the language right.
Watch on demand
For BIBA Conference 2021 registered attendees, all of the keynote and seminar sessions are available to view on-demand until 10 June.