Sponsored content: Simon Dandridge, new schemes underwriting manager at Ecclesiastical, discusses the persistent tech challenges facing schemes brokers and an innovative way forward for the sector

Nobody wants to do the same job twice. For schemes brokers across the UK, repeatedly keying the same data into outmoded management systems is part of the daily grind.

Simon Dandridge Ecclesiastical

Simon Dandridge

According to the Ecclesiastical Insurance Schemes Study 2023, 89% of provincial brokers and 94% of super-regional brokers consider digital capabilities with their current provider to be ‘not excellent’ – that may be putting it politely.

I know their pain. As schemes platform owner at Ecclesiastical, I’ve spent time watching, listening and talking to brokers about the burden of pre-digital tech on their sector. 

It can feel like Groundhog Day. You’ll type info into your back-office system, then input the same data to your pricing spreadsheet.

You then might need to re-type it on a policy schedule – and again for the bordereaux. That’s potentially retyping the same information four times.

No room to grow

This admin burden directly impacts business growth. Brokers can struggle to find time to grow customer relationships, generate enquiries, pursue new revenue streams and adapt to changing market and legislative conditions.

Digital is sometimes seen as dehumanising, but the opposite is true here – old ways of working can be slow and manual, thus blocking human ingenuity and interaction.

Insurance has always been behind on digital transformation and schemes is behind even further.

It’s contrary because this is just the kind of market – homogeneous, high-volume, fast-moving and interactive – that can benefit most from digital’s agility and aggregative power.

A collaborative response

My team and I have done more than just listen to these concerns. Working closely with brokers, Ecclesiastical has developed a new, dedicated digital solution called Schemes+.

Schemes+ takes away the friction and combines all the benefits of a digital platform with a full, in-house schemes offering from a highly rated provider.

With Schemes+, you key details directly into the system, which generates your quote, documentation and bordereau.

Importantly, the system can be tailored to the needs of each broker with bespoke question sets, documentation and rating structure – maximising time to focus on the human element, building relationships with customers and discussing growth with our decision makers and consultants.

We ran a pilot with Pound Gates, a specialist insurance broker based in Suffolk, which believed the system could give them a 33% improvement in processing time.

Travelling together

We didn’t necessarily set out to create a digital portal, our starting point was engaging with brokers to identify pain points. Schemes+ is the outcome of that process.

Some brokers are great and comfortable with managing processes and systems but, for others, it can be difficult – and we built this solution for them.

We are flexible with how we trade and, where this is not an issue for a broker, we can still operate via other more traditional methods.

Schemes+ launched in May and is already experiencing a lot of enquiries, particularly from brokers who hadn’t previously considered Ecclesiastical as a schemes partner.

We’re excited to be at this point and we want brokers with us as the journey continues.

  • To find out more about how Ecclesiastical can do for your scheme, click here