Insurer starts drive to increase commercial lines business.

Groupama Insurances has launched a broker trading team as part of a drive to win more commercial lines business. The insurer is also looking to widen its risk appetite for commercial lines business this year.

The new trading team will give brokers direct access to underwriters and will complement Groupama’s e-trading facilities.

The team will offer product specific telephone help-lines to assist with queries over underwriting criteria or advise about the best way of placing business.

The aim is to identify the right method for placing the risk, whether this is over the phone, on Groupama’s extranet, or via imarket.

Cathie Bruce, distribution and customer services director at Groupama, said the new team would help the insurer write more commercial business.

She highlighted risks that might otherwise not have been accepted because of rigid electronic underwriting criteria.

“The team has been developed because we are not getting business we should be getting. The electronic system is black and white. There is a danger we might miss quality business,” said Bruce.

Groupama is also broadening its risk appetite in commercial lines. This follows work last year to expand its footprint in tradesmen and small fleet sectors.

Bruce said: “This year we are working on the property owners’ contract and later in 2008 looking at small package business. We want to broaden our selection of trades and businesses.”

Groupama has produced a guide to the company’s products and services.

It is also putting in place a broker training facility to support its growing imarket and extranet trading activities. A specialist Groupama trainer will be available to visit brokers’ offices to provide practical training, and support to enable intermediaries to maximise the potential of online trading.

“The idea is for brokers to be able to place business more easily with Groupama,” said Bruce.

Groupama reported last month that its commercial lines revenues rose by less than 3% in 2007 to £104.7m.

Groupamas action plan

Launching a broker trading team to help brokers place commercial business.

Broadening risk appetite in commercial lines.

Publishing a guide to help brokers understand Groupamas products and services.

Training service to help brokers use its e-trading facilities.