Our Manchester IT Pack finds that combining passion, the right skills and great relationships is most likely to lead to success

An Aviva trading boss has urged brokers to develop good relationships with underwriters in order to avoid seeing their presentations binned.

Aviva head of trading for the North West, Nottingham and Northern Ireland Alan Drury told young brokers at a joint Insurance Times/Aviva IT Pack event that his underwriters were able to look at only 60% of the 14,000 commercial presentations they received in the first six months of the year.

Brokers’ biggest challenge was to stand out in a competitive marketplace, he said. “The quality of your relationships with individual underwriters will make a difference.”

He urged brokers to put time and effort into ensuring that their presentations made it into the 60% that Aviva underwriters look at.

It is also important to understand the personalities of different underwriters when building relationships, Drury said. “Underwriters are hungry for business. If you get to know those underwriters, you can work with them a lot better.”

And brokers should understand the target markets of underwriters, he advised.

“If you can feed some of those target segments to make those underwriters look good, you gain a very strong corporate ally.”

Underwriters had very long memories for unprofessional behaviour, Drury added, urging brokers to meet underwriters in person and then maintain openness and honesty.

Bollington head of commercial Chris Patterson said the Manchester broking market was diverse, arguing that what set his firm apart was a willingness to sell products to customers in the way they want.

“If a medium-sized enterprise wants to buy insurance online, we have an online trading solution. If the customer wants to speak to somebody, but it’s a small spend and they don’t necessarily need an account manager to visit, we have a contact centre,” he said.

Internet sales were the third arm of the Bollington philosophy, he added.

The need to win is what drives Olympic athletes to compete at a high level, British Olympic athlete Roger Black said. “It consumes you. You would swap success anywhere else to have Olympic success.”

Motivation was what made the difference between being average and having a chance at being great within any profession, Black added.

“In your business, there are going to be some easy clients, some easy sales,” he said. “Great. But anyone can do that.”