The broker fightback has begun. There will be no storming of barricades. There will be no guns or bombs. This will be an altogether more dignified battle. But a fightback it is – and make no mistake.
Oh sure, there's the regulatory issues. The broker bodies will have to secure further changes at the GISC regime. Professionally qualified brokers will need to lobby the CII to regulate chartered insurance broker firms. And they will all have to cope with the ending of the IBRC in the most dignified way they can manage.
Then there is their collective might, a power new Biba chairman George Nixon talks about. Controlling as much insurance as they do, brokers collectively are well-placed to demand better from the insurers
But the real fightback will come through business acumen. Brokers have faced competition from unregulated intermediaries and from direct writers and from supermarkets and from uncle Tom Cobbley and all. And so far, brokers have responded by whingeing that it's all horribly unfair.
But Nixon will now be arming Biba members with the skills they need to mount a fightback on commercial terms. He reckons that with the aid of some management consultancy, a clear strategic direction and the professionalism many have exhibited for years, brokers have a secure future. And he is right. Brokers need to concentrate on where they can add value for the customer, whether personal lines or commercial. They have to demonstrate a wide range of skills that help their customers get a better deal than from the direct writers or supermarkets. And they have to raise the profile of what they do.
Broking isn't just about selling the customer a policy at the lowest price, it's about explaining the options, pointing out the differences, identifying the customer's true needs and about presenting the solution – only a part of which may be insurance.