The software house’s insurance development director believes that if underwriters trade via straight through processing more, this would be ‘a significant step’ forward for the industry

Software company Acturis has once again topped the software house ranking in Insurance Times’ Five Star Rating Report: ETrading 2022, marking its sixth consecutive year in first place – the firm’s insurance development director, Thomas Stuart, says that investment, innovation and listening to broker feedback remains key to Acturis’ continued success and evolution.

This year, Acturis received an overall score of 4.11. Despite being 0.17 points behind its 2021 score (4.28), brokers still rated the firm ahead of rivals Applied Systems (3.69), Open GI (3.30) and SSP (3.03).

It achieved its highest score against the usability and trading ease metric.

“Given the importance of eTrade to our business, we are delighted to have been voted number one once again,” Stuart says.

He explains that Acturis continues to invest in its platform and is constantly looking to improve both the scale and scope of the products which are available on it.

“We invest a large amount of our revenue into the platform and research and development, to ensure that we are continually improving,” he adds.

“We spend a great deal of time with our customers, but [we also gather feedback via] underwriters and brokers in workshops and discussion groups to understand how they view the system and what they would like to see added or improved.”

Stuart says it is important to always be looking to further the platform - even in areas where there are not apparent issues.

“It is taking the tough decisions,” he explains. “If we can see that there can be improvements made to part of the platform, which can make it better, more efficient, or enhance the experience of users, [then] we are not afraid to do the work - even if there has been no feedback that there have been any issues.”

‘Always hungry’

Stuart adds that Acturis is “always hungry” for new products, insurers, MGAs and brokers to join its system - this growth has come as more products have been added to the platform.

“We are keen to get those who have an interesting underwriting footprint onboard,” Stuart says. “We want to extend our products into new areas.”

He continues: “We are seeing underwriters looking to put more complex risks on the site. The risks for SMEs are becoming more complex and so are the products needed to provide cover, so there is work around how we can make those complex risks available for brokers, [so they can] use eTrade to deliver.”

This includes embracing new question suggestions from brokers, clients or underwriters.

“Naturally, brokers and underwriters are not keen to see additional questions,” he adds. “However, when you explain the benefit the question can deliver, they will agree if they can see the value.”

Thomas Stuart

Thomas Stuart

A bold future

Looking to the future, Stuart hopes that underwriters will become more adventurous.

“I do wish that underwriters would be a bit bolder when it comes to the risks they are happy to trade via straight through processing,” he explains.

“We understand that brokers may need to contact underwriters on some risks, but we are always looking to support underwriters to improve their response times.

“We have developed an artificial intelligence tool which can sort through the risks presented by brokers and identify the most attractive [risks that] require the underwriter’s attention. It helps to focus underwriters’ time more effectively.

“If underwriters can become bolder in future and place more risks on the system [that] can be transacted via straight through processing, I believe it will be a significant step for not only the platform but also the wider market.”

Stuart’s responses reflect the findings of this year’s Five Star Rating Report: ETrading.

When asked what factors encourage brokers to place more business through Acturis, Insurance Times’ respondents that currently work with the software house cited a greater variety of product types, improved ability to meet customer needs effectively and access to more insurers.

Stuart adds that Acturis is working with third party data providers, tapping into non-insurance data that can be used to enrich its own data, enhancing the ability for underwriters to make pricing decisions.

“We simply do not want to stand still,” he says.

Despite positive feedback from brokers, Stuart describes ease of use for Acturis’ platform as “the most difficult challenge we face”.

“It is a tough balancing act,” Stuart continues. “We listen to our users continually and we adapt. We will do the hard yards.

“If the system is continually being improved, we will see more trade and bigger contracts on the platform. In some ways, you have to be brave.”

Complex risks present eTrade opportunity

Stuart adds that Acturis continues to increase its user base in the UK.

“As the broker base has increased, so has the demand for a wider range of products,” he says. “That increased appetite from underwriters to put more products on the system in turn attracts more brokers.

“Insurers are seeing the benefit of placing more complex risks on the platform and it is something we want to continue to deliver as we believe there is a real opportunity to eTrade more complex products.”

He adds: “It is encouraging to see that risks which in the past would have been seen to be unsuitable to eTrade are now being traded.”

Stuart notes that Acturis will be looking to retain its top place in next year’s eTrading survey too.

He says: “This [year’s rating] has been the result of 20 years of work and investment, which has brought Acturis, our brokers and underwriters to this point. We simply cannot afford to stand still for a moment.

“The market is changing - its risks are changing and the demand as to the types of risks and products that require the ability to be eTraded is also changing.

“We are delighted with [2022’s] result as the survey is one that we take very seriously given it is another way in which we can access real feedback from our brokers.”