’We’ve heavily invested in our pricing,’ says digital trading manager 

Allianz has completed “a lot of work in terms of empowering underwriters to ensure they can handle referrals” over the last year, with the insurer committed to further bolstering its eTrade capabilities for brokers. 

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This was according to Allianz Insurance digitial trading manager Julie Tongue, who told Insurance Times: ”We’ve made siginficant investments in our digitial areana and transforming the business to create and streamline a seamless, straightforward solution for removing unnecessary referrals.

“If a broker needs to speak to an underwriter then we ensure that it’s for the right reason and not an uneccessary call.” 

In Insurance Times’ Five Star Rating Report: eTrading 2023, the insurer retained its overall four star rating from last year and stayed in fifth place.

A four star rating for 2023 represents the fifth consecutive year that Allianz QuoteSME has achieved this ranking, but despite this consistency the insurer’s eTrading extranet saw its overall score fall slightly from 3.88 in 2022 to 3.86 in the most recent results. 

This small decline has become a trend over the last three years – drilling down into the broker ratings, Allianz saw its four star rating for quality and number of questions asked in 2022 slip down to three stars this year. 

Despite this small fall, however, the firm saw year-on-year improvements in usability and trading ease and quotability, while quality of support and breadth of cover and product range fell only marginally. 

Tongue told Insurance Times that Allianz was committed to taking broker feedback from the eTrading report on board, explaining: ”These are issues that we recognise – we have reviewed the vebatim [feedback] from the eTrading survey to understand what brokers’ challenges and frustrations are to be able to act on them and understand the story.

”We’ve received a lot of positive feedback but we also recognise that, [on subjects such as] referrals, brokers sometimes feel that they have to wait quite a while for us to respond.” 

Referral responses

Allianz’ strategic decision to further empower underwriters to be able to provide solutions to brokers has been prompted partially by feedback. 

Tongue said: “From our perspective, the minute a broker contacts us with a referral it is our intention to handle that query then and there. 

“We don’t want to enter the world of asking brokers for lots more information that they have to go to their clients for – our underwriters are empowered to make that decision and they don’t have to speak to someone else.” 

Empowering its underwriters has involved a selection of supporting developments, such as an investment into providing brokers with the best price data during a first interaction. 

Tongue explained: ”We’ve also invested heavily in our pricing, enabling us to provide the best price first time for our brokers so they know and have the comfort that they don’t need to discuss it with us because we provide our most competitive price at the outset.” 

However, this is not to say that Allianz is abandoning its commitment to a human touch and discussions over more complex trades. 

“If brokers do want to talk to us on the more complex risks then we can handle those risks as well,” said Tongue. “We’re doing a lot of work on being able to handle these queries and making sure that we clearly articulate the information we require to bring down the waiting times that brokers might experience.” 

Allianz is committed to bringing in further improvements to its eTrading platform, with the insurer hoping that the work completed over the last 18 months has put it in a strong position to understand brokers’ concerns. 

Tongue explained: ”The raft of changes that we’ve made over the last 18 months enable us to see a lot clearer now what challenges brokers are still experiencing – we have a new product in the pipeline being built with a digital-first mindset that is focused on removing barriers to trade.

“We’ve also in a process of refreshing our existing products, that will delivered before the end of the year, as well as making sure that we’re contiually improving based on taking on feedback.”