The final regional IT Pack event examined broker/insurer relationships, how to offer added value and upcoming talent in the industry

Aviva’s expansion of its Broker On-site Underwriting Solutions (Bonus) offering is transforming its coverage of many regions of the UK, and changing the way the insurer deals with brokers.

This was one of the key topics discussed at the final regional IT Pack event in Leeds last month, which brought aspiring brokers together.

The young participants were there to discuss the characteristics of exceptional business placers and questioned how Aviva’s expanded Bonus model would affect future relationships.

Aviva head of trading Jonathan Smith said that the Bonus mobile underwriters aimed to improve relationships between brokers, underwriters and clients.

“This is an evolving process,” Smith said. “Ultimately I think we’ll move to saying to our partners, ‘What should Bonus look like for you and what’s the best proposition to maximise the opportunity for us collectively’.”

Analysis and value
At the event Smith also discussed how the use of predictive analytics is evolving.

“The biggest change for us is how we look at price, data and analytics,” he said. “We need to make better use of all the data that we possess. This not a case of ‘computer says no’, but to complement the processes already in place.”

The way business placers can add real value when working with clients formed another discussion point.

DE Ford Insurance Brokers deputy claims manager Nick Mowbray said that providing in-depth historical claims information can improve discussions with the client.

“The more you know about the claims the easier it is to interpret them.”

TL Dallas account executive Matt Smith agreed that effective communication between insurers and brokers was vital.

“It comes back to the insurer communicating their brand values and the broker taking the initiative to discover what those values are,” he said.

Talent search
Smith added that building successful relationships can affect how brokers place risk with an insurer.

“Insurance is a relationship-driven industry and part of that is give and take. It’s getting that balance where if an insurer wants some of the good risks they might take some of the not-so-good risks as well.”

The IT Pack events are hosted by Insurance Times and Aviva as part of a search to find the next generation of broking talent.

At the Leeds event the judges picked TL Dallas’s Smith as the winner for his passion and leadership skills.

Aviva head of broker performance and marketing Clark Ross said: “We were really impressed with everyone who took part in the group debates.”

The judges also revealed their two wildcard finalists - DE Ford’s Mowbray from Leeds and La Playa private client account executive Gareth Cotton, who attended the London event.

The eight finalists will compete again in a secret task taking place this month. The winner will be announced at the Insurance Times Awards on 3 December.



Andy Morley, ProAktive


ProAktive business development director Andy Morley offers his views on industry regulation and how his business is trying to stand out

What are the characteristics of an excellent business placer?
Trust and integrity are fundamental for me. You need the belief that the person on the other end of the telephone is telling the absolute truth. It’s something that has to run through this sector like letters through a stick of rock. One of my personal values is to ensure we deliver and do what we say we’re going to do. It’s also important to be prepared to operate out of your comfort zone and to give and take.

Are you worried about the increasing scrutiny of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?
It makes me smile when we talk about a regulated market; the broker market is probably one of the most competitive markets you could ever imagine. I’m not worried because of the quality of our operation and the fact we’ve got the right people doing the right job. It’s a level of bureaucracy that does frustrate me, because if there were professional standards right at the front end the FCA would not necessarily need to have such an overbearing attitude.

How have you differentiated yourself in a difficult market?
I believe that micro business will disappear and go to the internet or the banking sector, so we decided to refocus to an area where we could add value. We put genuine risk management at the heart of everything. Risk management is our unique selling point; we don’t necessarily want to be the biggest or cheapest, but if we can add value and actually drive margin that’s what we want to achieve.

Do you think the industry is doing enough to train its young brokers?
At the start of my career when I began working for Norwich Union I received some fantastic training and I feel really privileged to have been through that process. As an employer I want qualified people. I went through a process of quality on-the-job training that does not exist any more. No generation is uniquely talented beyond any other generation; it’s about the tools that you are given. The one thing I would say to young brokers is: get qualified.