Three industry experts share how the broker-insurer relationship can be fine-tuned when it comes to the specialist small to medium enterprise (SME) insurance market

Rob Flynn, e-trade director, commercial lines, RSA

”Insurers and brokers must be partners in risk; sharing knowledge, best practice and working in harmony for the benefit of all customers. Being collaborative involves listening to each other’s concerns, but also being clear on appetite and lines of business.

Insurers and brokers need to share the same goals, especially in SME business. There must be efficiency, which enables brokers to place business quickly and with certainty.

Rob Flynn 2

Rob Flynn, RSA

Collaborating on training and development for our people and our partners can help foster longer lasting relationships with brokers. We provide Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) CPD-accredited technical Learning Labs as well as our Broker Leader Programme, which shows a commitment to brokers, supports their development and helps them retain talented future leaders.

Lastly, brokers need to be confident that their insurer fully understands SMEs and is committed to that market, by offering products that truly meet the needs of small businesses.”

Pat Brice, distribution director, CFC Underwriting

”The most important element for any partnership looking to deliver effective SME insurance is the ability to look at it from the viewpoint of a business owner. Thinking like an SME and tailoring the product and service accordingly is the cornerstone of delivering something that SMEs will want to buy, rather than what the industry wants to sell.

When it comes to the buying process, it just needs to be as simple as possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean etrading is the magic bullet though. The whole customer journey should be really clean. You can have the best looking website or trading platform in the world, but if you’re still asking 30 questions on a £2,000 policy, most of which the customer doesn’t understand, they’ll look elsewhere.


Pat Brice, CFC 

Be really focused on the overall proposition that you’re offering a business owner, not just the policy wording. In my experience, helping an SME understand the risks their business faces and the support they’ll receive to get them back up and running if something goes wrong is much more effective.

I would urge insurers to regularly share the wealth of information they have at their fingertips with brokers to help them keep their SME clients informed about real life claims or emerging risks in their particular sectors. You’ll be seen as a valuable partner, as well as helping them manage their own risk.”

David Martin, head of retail, Zurich

”A coherent and flexible relationship between brokers and insurers is essential if we are to deliver the service that our SME customers require from us. Ultimately, we need to be truly focused on the customer throughout the whole insurance lifecycle, almost to a point of obsession, to really understand their unique needs and help protect what matters to them the most.

Working together to remove any barriers that prevent us from trading effectively, utilising technology to aid efficiency and speed, as well as using plain language in our communications are key factors in those relationships. We rely on brokers to be our eyes and ears in the market and to tell us what the customer needs - this is important if we are to really focus on delivering good customer outcomes.

David Martin

David Martin, Zurich 

But let’s not forget that brokers want to work with insurer partners whose culture and commitment to doing the right thing are demonstrated in everything they do. It’s important that they deal with an organisation where people feel empowered, trusted and committed to delivering the best results for customers.”