Ecclesiastical schemes underwriting manager looks at how to grow schemes

Schemes can be a real boost to your business, but without constant attention even the most lucrative ideas can fizzle out. Don’t let that happen to you!

Growth through acquisition

Naturally, acquiring an established book will have a much greater impact on your business in a shorter timeframe. However, ensuring a frictionless transfer for customers is key.

Maintaining the same level of service goes without saying. That will limit negative impact on your customers and instil confidence in your approach. Think about how you transfer their information too. Getting to grips with data protection and any regulatory considerations early on will help the process to run smoothly.

Think hard about how you will communicate the proposition. The USPs and benefits of the scheme need to stand out above the competition or you might not be heard. It’s worth asking your insurer if they can help deliver this, for example through enhanced covers or pricing support to retain and attract new customers. Specialist insurers like Ecclesiastical add value by providing underwriting and marketing support to help you get the message right.

Ensure you retain as much specialist knowledge as possible and have plenty of time with key people before the transfer. The previous provider will have invested a lot of their intellectual capital into getting the scheme running. You need to understand the decisions they have made, and why, to truly make a go of it.

Remember, this is also the perfect opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate the scheme.

Growth through retention

How will you ensure that the customers you have acquired will stay with you? Sustainable growth is not just about attracting new customers; it is equally (if not more) important to retain those already won over by the proposition.

Be customer-focused. Every interaction you have with a customer is a chance to delight them, not just at renewal. Identify as many of the potential interactions as possible and think about how and what to communicate.

Make the most of every interaction. If your customers only receive transactional communications from you, it will be easier for a competitor to tempt them away. Use your knowledge of the market to plan a series of timely and relevant customer communications that add real value. This could be as simple as telling them about an additional cover you are now able to provide that addresses an emerging concern, or offering specialist advice on a topic relevant to them.

Keep one eye on the ball and the other eye on the competition. Ensure you’re up to date with the market and changes to the environment you’re operating in. Know your customers and potential customers inside and out; from the way they like to purchase insurance to how they interact with social media. Being an expert in their sector will add to your credibility and help you identify new risks ahead of the competition.

Your team will need to know the USPs of the scheme and, better still, know your competitors too. By understanding the holes in your competitors’ policies, you will give your team the tools to be able to reassure customers they are making the right decision.


One of the most important elements of retention is customer feedback. Look for opportunities to understand what’s important to your customers, listen to what your customers are saying and make a conscious effort to act on it.

When you have made an improvement, tell your audience! They will be happy to know something has changed for the better.

Achieving your growth plans

Your partnership with your insurer is vital to the success of your scheme. Make sure your insurer can offe

• Sales and marketing support to get your proposition out there

• Dedicated support and direct contact with experts in underwriting and risk management teams

• Tailored, flexible products so you can provide specialist solutions for customers

• Choice of trading options so you can choose a suitable level of involvement with sales and claims

• Claims excellence, so your customers are looked after at every step of the journey

• Regulatory and compliance support.

 Lastly, always look ahead. Ensure that you set aside regular time with your insurer to review your proposition and ensure it is matched with your customers’ current and evolving needs.