On Monday, brokers will hear a pandemic case study from commercial wheels broker McCarron Coates, as well as have the option to learn about the current lay of the land in high net worth

By Editor Katie Scott

Katie Scott_bw_path

Katie Scott

With the lifting of coronavirus restrictions comes the very welcome resumption of industry events – most notably with Insurance Times’ first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic, our one-day, must-attend conference BrokerFest 2021.

The thought leadership driven event will be taking place next Monday (11 October 2021) at etc.venues County Hall in London.

Yours truly will be chairing a number of sessions during the day, including a fireside chat interview to round off the morning’s agenda with McCarron Coates director Ian McCarron.

The session will provide a deep dive into McCarron Coates’ experience of the pandemic, highlighting the immediate and longer term challenges the commercial wheels-based broker faced.

Thanks to prime minister Boris Johnson’s ‘stay at home’ mandate in early 2020 to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, McCarron Coates felt the impact on its business “overnight”, McCarron told me.

Its commercial clients – such as school bus operators – “were looking to mothball their fleets and benefit from whatever return premiums they could access” just to help their businesses survive.

“From that point on, it was about securing the future of our business and our clients’ businesses to ensure that once normality returned, we would all be in a position to trade out of this,” McCarron continued.

“Our view was that if we could ensure our clients remained in business, then we would see the benefit with future renewals.”

On Monday, I’ll pick McCarron’s brain on exactly how the broker achieved this, what steps it took in reaction to the pandemic and how it sought to still support clients, as well as the broader transportation and logistics industry.

I’ll also be quizzing McCarron on how the company hunted down new business and growth opportunities to help bolster reducing fleet numbers and policyholders.

High net worth

Come Monday, you’ll also find me chairing the high net worth stream. I’ll be kicking off the afternoon by interviewing Azur Underwriting’s managing director Kate Wells – she’ll be telling me how the MGA seeks to use technology to make the high net worth arena more efficient, rather than causing a tech-driven disruption.

For her, marrying technology – such as Azur’s Smart Home platform – with the high net worth market’s personalised service standards is not an ‘either/or’ debate, but rather cherry picking the best of both worlds to create a more convenient and competitive way forward.

This approach also enables brokers to tap into the future pool of high net worth customers – she predicts an impending wealth shift centring around current HNW customers’ children, hence why Azur is focusing on an emerging wealth product. She believes this demographic should not be ignored.

I’ll also be speaking to former independent broker and current high net worth customer Jon Newall about the challenges facing brokers in the high net worth market at the moment and what he believes the answers should be.

For him, brokers are facing a nosedive in service and are struggling to contact the underwriters they need due to inefficient telephony systems.

He also believes young talent in the HNW market does not have the same depth of understanding as their longer serving counterparts around the HNW lifestyle and the correlating requirements, which has a knock-on effect on underwriting – something Newall feels is lacking quality right now.

He feels MGAs could pick up the slack here – and on Monday, I’ll find out why.

Brokers are able to register to attend BrokerFest 2021 for free, so make sure you sign up today ready for next Monday. I look forward to seeing you there.

BrokerFest 2021