NU is responding to feedback from brokers and business customers by extending its Bonus programme. Michelle Hannen reports
Inspired by feedbaCK from brokers on types of services they valued most, Norwich Union (NU) has announced the expansion of its Bonus programme.Under the Bonus programme, an NU underwriter, who has access to all the insurers' systems, works in a broker's office, processing business and producing documents on site. Currently, an in-house bonus underwriter is available only to brokers who put at least £1m of premium income, primarily from SME business, with NU.NU director of commercial products Jim Noakes says the feedback following research into services reveals that brokers consider access to decision makers most important."We feel that Bonus is closest to the ideal for brokers," Noakes says. "[Bonus underwriters] give a much better service to brokers than can conventionally be achieved in a traditional local office."
Part-time accessHe says that while providing an underwriter on a full-time basis to smaller brokers may not be possible, NU will look to provide part-time access. "Even where we can't provide a full time, on-site presence, is there something we can do to give them access to an underwriter at a set time each week?" he says. Noakes says that the roll-out has already commenced in some regional offices where local NU underwriters are making regular weekly appointments to visit brokers and deal with a number of cases in one session. NU has also conducted research into the types of services business customers consider most important.In response to this NU announced that it will begin a pilot to sell insurance direct to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the internet (Insurance Times, 27 May).
Improved termsNoakes says that along with this pilot the insurer will also develop and improve the terms of some of its SME policies as a result of the findings. He says that one initiative underway will see the introduction of telematics technology, which enables how and where a car is driven to be electronically recorded, to fleet vehicles. NU has previously tested telematics in private car risks and Noakes says that with many fleet vehicles already featuring telematics boxes for non-insurance reasons, it makes sense to extend their use in order to more accurately price risks. "You can give a much more accurate insurance premium if you know how the vehicle is being driven and where the vehicle is being driven," he says. Noakes says NU is currently in pilot phase with a number of fleet operators and will launch a new fleet insurance proposition linked to telematics in the autumn.