Willis towers Watson Networks boss Sara Fardon on how brokers can stay competitive 

sara fardon, Willis, cut out

We’re living through a revolution in our daily lives.

There has been more change in the last 20 years in our world than the past 2000. We’re familiar with interesting but mind boggling facts that tell us the world’s data is replicated every 4 hours; that 1.3 billion photographs are uploaded every single day and that Facebook is regularly cited in divorces!

Big Data

The buzz word is data, and Big Data at that.

The art of underwriting is moving very much to a science, with analysts possibly more important and influential than underwriters.

Data, when harnessed correctly can empower.

Meaningful data, when collated and analysed can inform and help a business steer a winning pathway through an otherwise crowded business environment.

However, data analysis can lead to decisions and strategies that ultimately depersonalise and stereotype allowing no room for interpretation, often leading to a case of “the computer says no”, with the client left out in the cold.

A broker’s job is to capitalise on the talent within their business. This enables them to create a unique set of circumstances that demonstrates to their client or prospect specific, relevant knowledge, modern business awareness and competence in their field.

At the same time, clients are much more sophisticated, demanding and knowledgeable about what they want and who they want to be in partnership with.

So how does a broker stand out in this world that can depersonalise so very quickly?


Developing a strength in specialisms is one key way that brings many additional opportunities to a broker and has become a tried and tested way to increase new business as well as delivering higher retention rates.

Demonstrating and offering skills and competence in a particular industry facilitates progress that elevates the broker away from purely transactional or price pitches enabling you to win business because you have changed your competitive landscape.

With several thousand brokers operating on a relationship-based or transactional format, then as a specialist in your field, your comparable competition is virtually nil in the regional market place.

Insurers too like the drive towards specialism because they can use their own expertise and resources to support the broker which then increases their odds of winning also.

Support for the Independent broker, who has to wear so many business hats is available through networks such as my own network.

We access an International broker, Willis Towers Watson, who by sharing their knowledge and expertise enables our network members to develop in their selected field at a quicker pace than choosing to start alone.

Additionally, keeping up to date, interpreting changes in industry and thinking through how best to adapt is very much a benefit of being part of a network environment.

The type of insurance and how it is delivered is going to be very different to the world I started my career in. Developing a specialism, adapting your business and standing out from the crowd will ensure those brokers prosper above others.