Seminar 1 The future of insurance broking
Chair – Ashwin Mistry OBE
Executive Chairman, Brokerbility
Guests – Julie Page, Chief Executive Officer, Aon UK Ltd; Phil Barton Chief Executive, Partners&; Carl Shuker, Chief Executive Officer, A-Plan and Ian Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer, Atlanta Group
Lesson from the pandemic
Brokers were told by Julie Page that they should be proud of how the industry has been resilient to the pandemic and how they have continued to deliver to clients. It was acknowledged that during the pandemic the industry faced challenges and accepted that there were things that could be done better, but that the industry responded well.
Julie later made a key point about changes to working remotely and outlined how productivity and presenteeism are not the same thing. She emphasised that the challenge now is whether we can achieve agile and hybrid to retain the gains from remote working but at same time add back the missing value parts of interaction and collaboration.
Looking forward at future events, scenario planning was seen as a way to better prepare. With preparation being key to having the ability to respond – both for brokers to be prepared themselves and to help clients be prepared too.
Changing consumer habits.
The pace of change has been fast over recent years but the panel felt that changes in consumer behaviour had been accelerated as a result of the pandemic and that customers’ acceptance of change has happened a lot faster – which has been driven as a result of their now flexible lifestyles – the panel highlighted that customers have moved quickly to digital solutions and service solutions because they work for them. But the fundamentals remain that to make it work you need to understand the customer needs and be flexible, because one size doesn’t fit all. Brokers were warned not to make the mistake of thinking that it’s only the youngsters who are digitally savvy – there are a lot of the older generation have moved their understanding and expectations forward during the pandemic.
Ian Donaldson emphasised that really listening and empathy has been important during the pandemic and that feedback from customers has influenced their decision for the future. He told brokers how he has watched their average call times increase and has accepted that because staff have been speaking to customers for longer – engaging with customers and sharing their worries and concerns because the pandemic affected everybody in the same way.
The panellists had varying views on market consolidation with it largely accepted that there are benefits especially when it comes to helping businesses achieve their aims and being a growth enabler but there were some questions raised as to why it is happening.
Carl Shuker, explained how his business is using data to provide better outcomes for customers and how they have implemented improved systems to facilitate this. He emphasized the importance of their data lake that allows them to extract and use their data in the way that they need it so that they can make better decisions.
However he warned that having cloud data brings very big responsibility – the security that you have around that data and how you use that data is incredibly important.. especially as these things are getting far more airtime than they have done before and that you should only collect data that the customer expects you to collect.
Diversity and Inclusion
The panellists all outlined that there is a strong focus in this area and that much is being done. Although it was acknowledged that more needs to be done and that the commitment to do more is there.
Value of brokers
During a discussion about the value of brokers, Phil Barton, highlighted that the pandemic has emphasised the role of the broker as the conduit between the insurance contact and the client so it has highlighted the need for the industry to work harder to enable the clients to understand what they are actually buying.
On this Julie Page concluded that many businesses, especially the smaller ones, who buy without engagement, are not understanding the product so brokers have a very meaningful role in knowing what clients are getting and why they are getting it.