Insurance Times gets the low down on the broker boss and finds out more about the future plans for his firm, IGO4

Want to know what a modern personal lines broker looks like? 

Meet IGO4 founder Matt Munro. The data-focused broker has smartly carved out niches in personal lines broking, while helping insurers meet those all-important targets on underwriting profits. 

Munro arrives early one morning, to be interviewed at Insurance Times’ London office. He’s come well-prepared to talk about himself and the future of his business.

There’s a lot to discuss - the future for IGO4, electric vehicles, the FCA’s pricing reform and more.

But first, a bit about Munro himself.

IGO4 beginnings 

Munro’s story begins in 1996 when he was in London without a job. 

He found work at one of Endsleigh Insurance’s branch offices in 1996, heralding the start of long career in insurance. 

He worked his way up the career ladder to run a branch area, where he met his wife, who was his boss at the time.

“She still likes to remind me of that on a regular basis,” quips Munro.

At Endsleigh, Munro learned about corporate partnerships. He then moved to broker Budget Insurance, to help set up the firm’s partnerships arm, Junction - this subsequently won deals with the Post Office and Marks and Spencer. 

The game-changing moment for Munro’s career came when he was involved in setting up price comparison website ComparetheMarket.

Seeing that insurers needed better data, Munro and his colleague Tom Cooper set up their own firm in Peterborough - and this was the beginning of IGO4 in 2007.

“Myself and Tom Cooper saw there was a massive switch to aggregation,” Munro explains.

”All the insurers were bemoaning the aggregators, in terms of poor performance. We were saying it is about putting the right price on the price comparison site. We were saying ‘embrace them’ as it is where the consumer wants to move to.”

Fast forward to today and IGO4 has grown to employ 300 staff and is ranked at 41 in the Insurance Times/Imas Top 50 Brokers 2021 report.

It has two divisions – its direct to consumer Wise Driving telematics brand as well as its partnerships arm.

The two divisions work in confluence with each other. IGO4 has the data and platform that partners such as Hastings and Direct Line use to build their own propositions. 

This also means that the broker’s panel of insurers - which also use IGO4’s data and platforms - can give the firm competitive rates and tailored products. 

Munro says: “We have created our own rating factors and algorithms. For example, if you come onto the price comparison site, we can predict how you are likely to drive because we have 10 years’ worth of data. 

”We can see, just from your quote details, whether you are going to be a good driver. That is proprietary to IGO4. So the insurer buys into that. We do a lot of the front-end customer selection work on behalf of the insurers, whether that is quote manipulation, with some of the data that we have got.”

Scaling up and pricing reforms

The firm now has two big ambitions: take advantage of the FCA’s price reform and scaling up the business post-pandemic.

IGO4 was impacted by Covid-19. It takes on a lot of inexperienced drivers and people purchasing second hand cars, but lockdown meant fewer driving tests being conducted and less second hand vehicle buys.

However, IGO4’s ongoing work to reduce its operating costs - down nearly 30% in two years - helped it to meet challenges thrown up by the pandemic. 

The broker’s offices have now been consolidated and a third of back office work is now done by robotics. 

Heavy investment in the customer experience has led to 95% of consumer journeys being done online too, with good use of chatbots. 

Munro expects the business to be back at pre-pandemic levels by the start of January next year, as he looks to expand the business. 

Looking to the future, IGO4’s growth will be fuelled by more standard motor policies, as well as the continued growth of connected cars and electric vehicles (EVs).

For example, IGO4 can supply data to help insurers manage the claims process on EVs. If these vehicles break down, with often hard to find parts and repairers, insurers will not want a claims management company holding the EV for a lengthy period. 

On the FCA’s price reform, Munro stresses that IGO4 doesn’t discount on new business.

Speaking on direct writers and major personal lines brokers, he says: “They have a massive back book, which they have to protect. We don’t have the same back book.

”Overnight, we are going to become more competitive because the big discounting at new business is not going to be something to be sustained by anybody.”

All these qualities makes IGO4 a desirable business in the acquisition-heavy UK broking market. 

Munro says: ”I’m still quite young. I really enjoy it. Like most other brokers, you get approaches, but we have no interest at all. 

”We have a plan and strategy over the next three years. A real opportunity to grow significantly over the next 12 months. 

”All the signs are that we are going to be in a really good place.”