Insurer's efficiency drive will reduce key account commercial brokers by half

Groupama is to cut the number of key account commercial brokers it deals with by half. This is part of its drive to improve efficiency and productivity.The insurer is to review its relationships with its major brokers and decide whether to continue with tailor-made relationships or move to a transactional model.Groupama managing director François-Xavier Boisseau said: "We currently have around 200 key account brokers but we will be narrowing this down by as much as 50% in one or two years' time."The criteria Groupama will be using to decide which brokers it wants to maintain closer relationships with include volume of business and share of panel.Boisseau said: "A minimum of about 5%-10% of panel share is a sensible amount both for us and the broker. If that is not the case I would rather deal with a broker strictly on a transactional basis."Boisseau confirmed that Groupama was not looking to decrease its overall agency base of around 3,500 brokers.Groupama plans to target health insurance to drive growth in 2005. The insurer plans to grow its existing £70m book by developing its distribution and product offering.Cathie Bruce, who recently joined Groupama as head of customer propositions from rehabilitation company IPRS, confirmed she was assisting Groupama to reassess its distribution strategy in healthcare. Bruce said the new proposition would be a "breath of fresh air" in healthcare, and she said that there may be opportunities for Groupama and IPRS to work together in future. Boisseau said he expected to present the health strategy to the main board by December, to be followed by a pilot of the new strategy in early 2005.

Brokers' marketing pilotIn her new role, Cathie Bruce, who replaced Andy Heap, is looking at ways to enhance the relationship that Groupama has with its intermediaries. A new marketing package will be launched in pilot phase on 22 November, which intermediaries who have 'partnership agreements' with Groupama can buy into at a subsidised cost.Bruce said the package is centred around helping brokers retain existing business and win new business. She said that the package would provide three or four marketing support options including help with direct mail campaigns, targeting customers, and sorting and warehousing data to refine leads. Following the pilot, the programme will be rolled out in early 2005.