Insurance Times speaks to Covéa Insurance’s director of distribution in personal lines Sue Coffey about the five service areas being explored in the broker survey

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While the Insurance Times Personal Lines Broker Service Survey is collecting responses from UK brokers, we will be speaking to insurers strategy choices in five key areas of service important to brokers. 

Here, we speak to Sue Coffey, director of personal lines distribution and underwriting.

A service area being investigated in this years Broker Service Survey is around broker support, what has been your organisations broker support strategy over the last 12 months?

Engaging with our brokers and providing support has always been a top priority for us and this year despite Covid-19 and enforced lockdowns we managed to keep it that way. Our key priority initially was to get everyone working from home as soon as possible and we actually had 95% successfully up and running within the first two weeks. The reason this was a priority was that customers are what we base our business around and one of those customer groups is our brokers.

Keeping in touch we quickly understood that what the brokers needed most from us was to continue with our service elements such as handling claims and keeping service areas operating, and also for us to help provide clarity on scenarios that were new to us all created by the pandemic. An FAQ was prepared and updated daily as new scenarios presented themselves. We didn’t want the brokers to be faced with difficult policyholder questions to answer without any support from us. Feedback was that this helped massively so it was worth making it priority. This is a very specific example but just mirrors what we do all year round which is to listen to our brokers needs and provide the relevant support.

A service area being investigated in this years Broker Service Survey is around underwriting. What has been your organisations underwriting strategy over the last 12 months?

Our underwriting strategy is one of consistency and stability. Our aim is to make our required return on capital, nothing more or less and all decisions made are in line with this. We want to ensure that anything we do is sustainable to avoid any unnecessary fluctuations or unexpected changes. Obviously unknown factors may hit at any time but we feel the key is to be open and transparent in our approach and to try not to make any short term or knee-jerk changes. Any changes we do make are based on data as well as closely studying trends and emerging risks which we believe is the basis of stable pricing.

I think this stability and long term approach is why brokers support us with confidence and believe in our strategy of writing sustainable profitable business.

A service area being investigated in this years Broker Service Survey is around policy documentation. What has been your organisations policy documentation strategy over the last 12 months?

On at least an annual basis we complete a full review of our policy documentation. The aim is always to ensure that it is simple for the customer to understand and clearly signposts covers and any calls to action. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for customers to understand what is covered and what isn’t so that there are no misunderstandings wherever possible. We are very environmentally conscious and want to move to as close to a 100% electronic basis as possible yet still plan to retain alternative options for customers that may require paper documents to potentially support a vulnerability.


The personal lines insurance landscape is evolving. Click here to have your say and you could win £250 John Lewis vouchers. Brokers how well have your insurance partners supported you over the last 12 months?

A service area being investigated in this years Broker Service Survey is around the overall claims experience for all parties involved. What has been your organisations overall claims experience strategy over the last 12 months?

Our claims strategy has already been based around the customer. Our view is that we want to give customers choice around how we deal with their claim and build in options for them to select the pathway they’d prefer, including communication method etc. A big transformation within our business currently is to improve our technology which will enable us to offer customers even more digital options to make it a much better customer experience at a potentially very difficult time.

Some claims scenarios require human interaction and when that need arises, our claims handlers are trained to identify vulnerability in customers and combine a strong mixture of responsiveness with empathy in assisting those customers. 

A service area being investigated in this years Broker Service Survey is around how insurer partners can assist with broker challenges. What strategies are being implemented to support the challenges being faced by your broker partner over the next 12 months?

Staying close to our partner brokers means that we are constantly gathering valuable insight into the challenges facing their businesses. Often as an Insurer we have the same challenges and the majority of the time this peer group faces the same. Understanding the challenge is key to us forming a plan to help support. The support we offer depends on the nature of the challenge, but a common area is where customers have different demands or buying habits. To support the broker we try and stay close to changes and innovate to form new products or propositions as well as developing new technology to make the customer experience match the expectation. We are always tracking the market and gathering insight to be ahead of the game and proactive rather than simply reacting to the demand.

We run regular broker networks where we tackle hot topics together. Again this helps us all share insight around areas challenging us all. We bring subject matter experts to the table to share knowledge and debate ways to tackle challenges together.