For the ninth day of advent, Ian McKinney, Verlingue’s corporate director, highlights the positive relationships between underwriters and brokers

For the festive period and continuing every day until Christmas Eve, Insurance Times speaks to a selection of industry personalities about what they’d like to find under the tree for 2024. 

What was your insurance industry highlight of 2023?

Personally, it has to be the opening of our new Verlingue Birmingham office in September, but this also crosses over with a wider market highlight – the increasing tendency for insurers to actually want to do business.

Ian Mckinney xmas

Ian Mckinney

After the recent hard market and period of rapid rate correction, and despite difficult ongoing economic and inflationary pressures, it feels like some sanity has finally returned to the market, with underwriters increasingly willing to engage with brokers on rate and terms.

It has been great to have conversations with underwriters who are now more empowered and can make decisions at a local level, especially when dealing with complex cases.

What is your Christmas message for your insurance colleagues?

We are unfortunate enough to live in very interesting times, as the old saying goes. 2022 and 2023 brought war and suffering after the pandemic in 2020-22 had already been a huge shock to the global economic system. Many of our clients head into 2024 with continued uncertainty about interest rates, inflation, supply, demand and more. 

It’s important to remember that when we, in the insurance market, work for our clients, we provide them with the certainty they need to run their businesses. We are the grease that allows the economic engine to operate and we should always remember that.

What do you hope to find under the industry’s Christmas tree for 2024?

On a personal level, I would really love a cut in insurance premium tax to an easier to calculate percentage – 5% preferably but I would settle for 10%.

For a more realistic possibility, I’d like to see the FCA finally accept that the regulatory burden on brokers in the UK is disproportionate to the risk and that the hyper-competitive nature of the broking market necessarily results in an element of natural self-regulation – customers that receive poor outcomes don’t often stay with their broker.

Indeed, if the FCA took a more proactive and targeted approach, they could achieve so much more with the limited resources they have.