After years of frustration at Aviva, Fraser Edmond set up Broker Insights. The firm is now progressing with guns blazing and has recruited industry thought leader Ashwin Mistry. Insurance Times finds out what the duo have planned next
The years of frustration at Aviva eventually got to Fraser Edmond, the insurer’s previous broker distribution director. Seeing how inefficiently insurers were trading with brokers, Edmond decided to do something about it.
He tells Insurance Times: ”I’ve seen every distribution model. And, talking of that lightbulb moment, eventually it becomes clear to you. Something needs to change to move the market forward.”
After 12 years at Aviva, he quit to set up Broker Insights alongside co-founder and Aviva colleague Iain Crole. The insurtech uses data to match insurer and broker appetites to trade premium.
Three years later and the business is doing well. So well, in fact, that it has attracted one of the biggest names in UK broking - Ashwin Mistry - to join its board.
Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Edmond and Mistry talk about Broker Insights, its future plans and what Mistry can bring to the table.
Bridging the knowledge gap
Let’s start by explaining more about what Broker Insights is.
In a nutshell, Broker Insights collects data from regional brokers, which in turn aims to help insurers with their placement strategies. For example, if an insurer wants to know exactly how much motor fleet capacity is in a regional area, Broker Insights will detail all the information.
The more brokers that are hooked into Broker Insights, the more powerful and useful it becomes to insurers. That’s why brokers get the software for free. The benefit to them is that they work out which insurer has appetite on specific lines.
The insurers, not the brokers, fund this service.
Edmond says: ”That simple bridging of the knowledge gap, piecing together missing information, I think over the next few years will massively improve the efficiency of intermediated [services].
“For insurers, if they can see and understand the market, they can build products better, they can distribute products better.
”If the broker can understand insurers’ appetites intimately, they can find exactly the right insurers for their customers quicker.
“[For] some of these insurers, we are opening their minds to brokers they may have never dealt with before.”
Former Brokerbility chief executive Mistry joined Broker Insights officially earlier this month as a non-executive director, keen to bring his experience to the firm.
Mistry says: ”What I want to do is help Broker Insights understand brokers’ customers because up until now, I have been looking after customers all my career, [for] the last 38 years.
”I actually get the customer psyche. I know what they want, I know how they want it, I know when they want it and I know how they want it presented to them.”
Broker Insights clearly knows what it wants to achieve. But are insurers and brokers embracing the service it delivers?
Edmond says: ”Where we sit today with £1.1bn commercial gross written premium, we think that is about 13% of the commercial regional market.”
Broker Insights only targets regional brokers. But with consolidators gobbling up so many independent brokers, is the firm operating in a potentially diminishing market?
”We are seeing many new startups,” Edmond confirms.
”It is [a] cycle repeating itself. For the last 10 years, we’ve said the broker market is going to shrink, [however] it’s still the same size because there is consolidation, but there is always new [firms as well].”
Mistry is bullish on Broker Insights’ prospects of growing.
He believes insurance staff are isolated and Broker Insights can bring them together in an efficient way.
”You have the broker that is slightly isolated, you have the insurer account exec that is completely isolated - because he or she is not making insurer visits to broker offices - so how do they communicate [the] insurer’s risk appetite? How do they communicate it effectively? To me, it is the biggest challenge,” he explains.
”What Broker Insights is doing is talking to the decision-maker in the placement journey.”
The efficiency Broker Insights strives to provide can also add to brokers’ sale price, Mistry notes. “If the multiple increases even by half a million, times that by 10 [and] we have just added £5m to the broker’s sale price. Just [through] us connecting people better to make [placement processes] more efficient.”
Looking to the future, there is plenty to be excited about. For example, in December 2021, Broker Insights won £6m of funding from Mercia Asset Management and a collection of high net worth individuals.
”We are going really quickly signing up brokers,” Edmond says. “We are now in the position where we can either keep going at the rate we are going, or we seek funding. So we took some equity funding in December.
”With those resources, we are going to accelerate the platform and team to grow the the business over the next two to three years. We expect to reach 40% of the market with the platform.”