In a time of unprecedented change, the strong regional rrokers will thrive, writes John Read, regional managing director, Willis Towers Watson Networks 

In my travels around the country meeting with Network Members, I see the many challenges brokers are facing; but I am also delighted to see how the brokers in our Network are rising to these challenges and creating opportunities to take advantage of the moving landscape.

There is no doubt the world of insurance broking has changed dramatically in recent times; the financial crash, now ten years ago, led us towards a new era of transparency which meant we had to adapt our ways of working, deal with greater regulation and ensure that, quite rightly, we put our customers at the heart of what we do.

For an independent insurance broker, this has meant more layers of administration to ensure compliance and additional cost that could have been spent on employing another account executive, now lost in time-consuming paperwork and processes. Brokers have had to learn, absorb and adapt their methods of working to cater for Treating Customers Fairly, The Insurance Act, rising Insurance Premium Tax, and preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations in May 2018.

Such changes are set against a backdrop of the growth of emerging technologies and the rise of a digitally-empowered consumer, more demanding and selective insurers, industry consolidation, changing and emerging risk requirements and, of course, Brexit.

What I have found is that brokers are adapting, learning and rising to the challenge. They are achieving this by focusing on what they do best - managing and advising on risk, becoming more involved with their clients and delivering a trusted relationship rather than a transactional service. Brokers are developing specialist knowledge and creating value through their advice, which in turn gives the added benefit of clients taking more coverage and being better protected, as this relationship grows.

The brokers I visit enjoy their independence and their ability to choose their business direction. They do also value the support they receive from Willis Towers Watson Networks in helping them not only cope with all these changes, but to also take advantage of the opportunities that are presenting themselves. Our Specialist Practice Groups are a prime example of how our independent brokers have being taking the knowledge our own in-house specialists are able to impart and using it to differentiate themselves from their competition; giving them a greater presence in a crowded marketplace and, importantly, meaning they are now sought out by new prospects as a specialist in their chosen field.

In my conversations with our brokers I find their enthusiasm to deliver the best risk advice they can for clients is a major business driver. The risk landscape has transformed through the course of many of our Network Members’ careers, and they continue to welcome the dawn of new challenges, whether they be driverless fleets, cyber risk or whatever else comes around the corner to test them.

They also recognise the value of the support they receive from Willis Towers Watson Networks to equip them for these challenges. Each Network Member is different in their requirements: insurer relations, exclusive wordings and facilities, e-commerce, marketing, sales, training and development, or advice on acquisition and succession planning. Whatever the subject our Network Members know we are alongside them, helping them to thrive.

If you would like to find out more about the range of support, tools and solutions that Willis Towers Watson Networks can offer to independent brokers please visit, or contact me directly.