Get inside the minds of mid-market buyers when you pitch


1: Are you a local firm?

Mid-market buyers want to be able to look their broker in the eye. They feel reassured by firms (insurers too) with a local presence, who understand the local business scene and visit several times a year.


Brokers are dominant so insurers need their distribution strategy nailed – they need a local branch network’

Catherine Dixon Allianz Commercial property and risk control manager







2: Will you get to know my business and answer the phone when I call?

A broker’s personal knowledge of their client’s business raises the quality of conversation and advice given.

One client’s equipment might be manufactured in the UK and replaceable in days, whereas another’s is from China and will take 18 months to ship’

Chris Hill, Aviva head of commercial mid-market underwriting








3: Will you save me money?

Mid-market clients are price-sensitive and often hold beauty parades to select brokers and find the best price. The diverse nature of the market means that products and prices vary.

You can still apply underwriting techniques and proper pricing to
this market’

Catherine Dixon, Allianz Commercial property and risk control manager






4: Can you advise me about new rules and regulations?

Brokers need to have the facts about regulatory exposure at their fingertips to reassure clients that they are watching their back.

Most clients don’t fully understand what cover they need’

Catherine Dixon, Allianz Commercial property and risk control manager






5: Will you communicate so that I can run my business better?

Mid-market clients want to know that they’ll be told about any changes that could affect their business, particularly their cashflow, given the current
trading climate.

A major client gripe is that where there has been an injury claim, they are not involved in decisions around liability and settlement. If this ultimately has an effect on premium, they may not be prepared for an increase’

Richard Beaumont, QBE London national underwriting manager










6: Do you have a professional risk assessor?

Mid-market buyers want a qualified risk expert to inspect their premises and their operation, and suggest methods for reducing risk.

Sometimes it’s not about insurance but, for instance, health and safety training instead’

Chris Hill, Aviva head of commercial mid-market underwriting







7: Can you advise about risks I haven’t thought of?

Risk management advice and practical suggestions for how to manage risk better is valuable to mid-market customers, who lack access to the kind of group-wide resources available to larger corporate.

There’s a tendency to see risk management as a surveyor with a clipboard. The challenge is to make
it part of company strategy’

Richard Bennett, QBE London national underwriting manager








8: Do you have offices overseas where I operate?

Mid-market companies are increasingly looking overseas for growth, creating demand for advice on mitigating risks within different cultures and jurisdictions. Suppliers with an understanding of local markets will have an advantage.

Almost all of our mid-market clients are looking at opportunities abroad. You need the ability to do mini global programmes’

Sean Finnegan, Giles regional managing director








9: Are you giving me impartial advice?

Nobody likes to think they’re being stitched up - being up-front about payments could give you the competitive edge.

Some mid-market clients are unaware that brokers sometimes recommend an insurer because they’ll get more commission. We are completely transparent’

Richard Waltier, Jobson James director








10: Why should I pick you over all the others?

Price, advice, and service go a long way – but that one unique selling point that clinches the deal could be as simple as having an office nearby, or knowing the right person to put in a good word.

An office nearby or a personal recommendation from a mate down the golf club may carry more weight than the company’s brand’

Catherine Dixon, Allianz Commercial property and risk control manager







The mid-market client

Lush Cosmetics

Activity: Retailing ethically made soaps and beauty products
Size: Turnover £272m in the year to 30 June 2011
Reach: 800 shops, 49 countries
Broker: Marsh
Insurer: Allianz

Craig Sweet, Lush Cosmetics

“Personal relationships matter a lot. We get on very well with the guys at our broker, Marsh, who we’ve been with for a couple of years. They check in with us every quarter and we also call them regularly. When we do, we want to know the person who picks up the phone, whether it’s the account manager or the day-to-day account handler, and we’ve been happy with Marsh on that score so far.

“We’re happy with our claims experience with Marsh and Allianz, so far too. After reporting the claim to the insurer we tend to deal with Marsh from then on. They give us updates on how a claim is going and whether the insurer can cover it.

“We have had a few personal injury claims from customers and the odd one from a factory worker, but nothing major. Last year one of our shops was flooded and that was handled really well by the broker.

“We are keen on brokers and insurers that offer business risk assessments to help us to identify risks we may not have seen ourselves. We have found that some insurers’ offerings are fairly token efforts, and that in fact brokers are the ones offering really thorough on-site risk management support.

“Renewal is coming up in a couple of months and, as always, price will be the key factor when we choose the insurer. It has to be competitive with our existing deal. Then we look at the level of insurance they offer. I’m careful to compare like with like because the levels of excess differ and sometimes it is not obvious how.

“We like to work with bigger players that are respected in the market, because I know who they are and so feel comfortable with them.”