Nick Houghton on getting the edge

History has shown us that the shift in personal lines means online markets, comparison websites, aggregators – call them what you will – are here to stay. They will dominate SME commercial distribution.

Insurers are staring down the barrel at the prospect of differentiating themselves on price, unless they maintain good trading relationships with brokers.

History also tells us that this is not a good place to be. As one insurer told me recently: “At this point, hundreds of years of heritage count for nothing.” Enter Tesco, with a hell of a brand and deep pockets.

This is where broker networks come in. By engaging with a high-quality network, insurers can maintain relationships that are vital to them in differentiating themselves and their proposition in an increasingly commoditised space.

The world of distribution is changing fast. Insurers must embrace the dynamics at play and not kick against them.

Nick Houghton is managing director of Broker Network.