NU research identifies four types of broker

Are you a youthful optimist, an old hand, a specialiser or part of a fading family?

Norwich Union (NU) research has identified four broker segments that will help shape its future trading strategy, according to strategic marketing director Tim Rolfe.

NU identified the characteristics of each group as follows:

Youthful optimists: the most optimistic segment. Their positive outlook may be tainted by their relative inexperience or clear focus on desired markets. Youthful optimists do not think FSA regulation will have any significant impact on their business.

Old hands: tend to concentrate on commercial lines with a secure client base. Old hands, usually 50+, are less likely to see threats in the market than specialisers or fading families. They have business that are more than five years old and prefer AXA, NU and Royal & SunAlliance.

Specialisers: the second most optimistic group who are likely to work from regional offices. Focused on product or sector or client base. Specialisers see their main competition coming from retail brands and the motor industry. They do not want to be too dependent on a small number of risk carriers.

Fading families: primarily personal lines brokers, these brokers are the least optimistic. A significant proportion of this class want to dispose of the business and have limited plans for development.

According to NU, the telephone survey of 400 brokers revealed that a maximum of 15% of brokers have been in business for less than five years, while 46% have been going more than 20 years.

The survey revealed that 37% of brokers are 65%+ commercial lines, 29% are 65%+ personal lines and the rest have a mix of business. It revealed that commercial lines brokers are more positive about their ability to cope with FSA regulation than personal lines brokers.

Almost 75% of those surveyed employ fewer than ten people.

Two-thirds of thos e surveyed said that regulation will make them re-think business strategy.

The survey also revealed that Insurance Times is the most widely read magazine or newspaper with 68% of those surveyed counting themselves as readers.