Contributor Stuart Reid highlights where progress has been made and where more needs to be done 

By Stuart Reid

Having been asked to do a short round up of the big stories over the past year, I felt that in an attempt to do things a bit differently, I would look at it through the lens of the industry’s reputation.

Stuart Reid

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As we all know our reputation has suffered sustained pressure over the past few years, be it the business interruption (BI) issues of Covid, the property insurance debacle, the increasing spectre of ghost broking, service issues – especially around claims – complaints and much more.

Some issues have disappeared, the age old passporting insurers for one, but we still struggle with the fundamentals.

Despite such shortcomings we do have much to be proud of, such as serving clients in the provision of products that are desperately needed.

We continue to evolve and modernise against the backdrop of increasing regulation, government intervention, oversees interest and consolidation.

So, on a few of those issues of note, where do we stand?


We have more women at senior levels, on boards and at the top.

Amanda Blanc at Aviva and Julie Page, with her wider remit at Aon, are shining examples of success in this area.

Lloyd’s are very publicly modernising what was seen as one of the last bastions of the “old fashioned”, taking tough decisions when necessary.

Much more is to be done in the sector generally, especially around inclusion, but with the regulator now stepping in on this issue, greater success is not optional.

Meanwhile, insurers need to do more, much more on service.

As the saying goes – “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”. As middlemen, brokers rely on insurers to provide the service they promise their clients.

A disconnect between the two only serves to disappoint those clients and doing so at a time of a hardening market is reputational suicide.

Insurers need to resolve these issues or make a further move of capacity to managing general agents (MGA’s), including significant authority to deal with claims or outsourcing to specialists, which will continue to increase.

If there is one reputational issue that will do us all the most harm, it is in how we settle claims. According to an Insurance Datalab report, 81% of all complaints across 2022/23 relate to the claims process, including insurers delaying in paying out claims. Yep, 81%!

So too with staffing levels. It’s heartening to see city centres across the country become busier again, well for at least three days a week, but the issue of remote working has not been resolved.

Times have changed and that is recognised, but so too has a sense of realisation that the lack of face to face working has a massive impact, on individuals, on companies and on service.

However difficult, this issue needs tackling, the last national lockdown finished in July 2021 for goodness sake and from where I sit, insurers are way behind where they should be and to be frank, way behind the broking industry.

It’s always easy to moan and groan. What else can we be justly proud of in a sector that strangely and all too often seems shy to shout out about what it does well?

Consumer Duty and consolidation

Whilst it remains to be seen how the FCA handle the data we all spent numerous hours, days and months collating, we have met the early challenge of Consumer Duty, a massive step change by our regulator.

Businesses have proved resilience in the face of the economic woes we have faced, particularly those who look for continual funding to grow into cash positivity and profit.

Our trade bodies have become ever more important when the make up of our industry is so fast changing – Mike Keating at the MGAA and Graeme Trudgill at Biba could not be better placed.

Consolidation has continued at pace, even if the deals are smaller or increasingly come from off these shores, proving that we should be proud of the inexhaustible desire, especially from the US, to invest.

And we should be proud of ourselves, as said we provide a service that is fundamentally important to UK Plc and do so well.

So, turn off those pesky mobiles and computers when the time comes and if at all possible have a peaceful and very merry Christmas. My best wishes to you all.