With Insurance Times’s etrading 2020 results now available, Savan Shah speaks with Adrian Coupland, customer and marketing managing director at SSP, about the firm’s etrading results and how it is supporting brokers to be operational in these times of disruption

The Insurance Times etrading 2020 results are now available, what is your reaction to your results?

We are pleased with this year’s results as the SSP score is improving year on year. In fact, overall, our results have improved the most out of all the other software houses. I think we’d be much more concerned if our score had dropped from last year.

We know that we still have work to do, but we are positive that the work we are undertaking will keep us on track. We are moving in the right direction and we continue to improve our service and e-trading offering.

Business continuity is essential in these disruptive times, especially through e-trading. How are you ensuring your broker customers remain operational from home?

We’ve been supporting our broker customers with their transition to working from home. The vast majority of our brokers are now successfully working from home and it is business as usual for them. We have been communicating with them via email, as well as calling each of our brokers to offer individual support.

We have also added a new area to our website dedicated to supporting our customers who are working from home during this challenging time. The website includes documents and video guides as well as articles and useful links to various resources.

The staff at SSP and the SSP Pure system itself has made working from home a complete pleasure. When we relocated from our office to home, everything was seamless and effortless and we were all working within 10 minutes of setting up our systems. It’s also a pleasure speaking with the SSP staff who really do go the extra mile to help where they can. Keep up the good work.” Ian Reynolds, Coops Insurance

SSP brokers are still able to process quotes and transact business. We have seen a small drop in quote volume, but we would expect this due to the current consumer demand as a result of the pandemic.

Jim Sadler, SSP’s chief operating officer summed this up perfectly. He said: “We were already a very well-prepared business and we regularly rehearsed our business continuity plans and simulated major events with our CMT.

”We had also invested heavily over the last two years in moving substantial amounts of our IT systems to the cloud, accessible through any device with a simple internet connection. We’ve also significantly expanded internet and [virtual private network] bandwidth, moved more services to the cloud, consolidated our financial systems and development environments.”

Since the outbreak was declared a pandemic, are you seeing any impacts on the platform?

Business as usual. SSP brokers are trading as normal and we have our usual number of users accessing the system each day.

What does your company see as the advantages of extranet over software houses, and/or vice-versa?

SSP’s Commercial E-Trading platform connects brokers directly with insurers, allowing policies to be purchased and managed. It also provides a solution for online trading, offering a quote and buy system fully integrated into the broker back-office system and removes the need for double keying.

What are the major challenges facing the insurance industry on e-trading this year?

The fallout of the pandemic will be the main challenge and there may be more pressure on businesses to consider their carbon footprint and eco-friendliness.

Commercial insurance will suffer as all of the restaurants, pubs and many small businesses could well be closed for a long time. Many could potentially disappear, which will, of course, have an impact on policy volumes and gross written premium (GWP).

Cyber security is another challenge. During this current situation, with many people working from home, there has been a huge rise in the amount of malicious online activity, with scams, spam and malware all increasing.

Again, in relation to the current Covid-19 situation, it may be that we see less commercial property risks as many organisations prove that their businesses can continue and thrive with a remote workforce.

Automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and advanced analytics are just some of the innovations being speedily implemented worldwide to combat business disruption. What developments have you made so far and what plans are being made for future implementation?

SSP Intuition, powered by Amazon Web Services, is the new data lake solution that will allow insurers to build their own unique data insights into their performance. This provides daily access to over one billion intermediated quotes and quote responses across private motor, commercial vehicle, motorbike and household lines. Fundamentally, this will give the insurer the ability to analyse and, most importantly, understand their own performance in the market - at quote, broker and scheme level.

Given this new insight into their performance, an insurer can understand their position in the market against their peers, allowing them to price more accurately and competitively as a result.