Our latest regional roundtable focused on service delivery and the associated opportunities and challenges

Brokers can improve their service to clients while increasing premium income by offering non-insurance products, according to Perkins Slade associate director Lynn Richards-Cole.

Brokers could supply products like credit insurance bonds, Richards-Cole suggested to the second joint Insurance Times/RSA regional roundtable. She added that brokers should keep an open mind about the services they provide.

“You can’t just silo that off and say it’s not general insurance,” she said. “Are there things we can do to smooth the way for [our clients]? If we can’t do it, who else will?”

Richards-Cole told the event, which was held in Birmingham and focused on service delivery, that brokers could expand the sales of certain lines. As an example, she suggested that key person insurance could be sold to employees such as financial directors.

Customers’ interest in trade credit insurance was also starting to pick up after many businesses had chosen to self-insure, owing to fears of having policies cancelled when they fell into difficulty, she said.

“It has created opportunities now that the cover is coming back, so we can go out and talk to our clients.”

Insurer service delivery is critical to brokers, Ernest R Shaw sales and marketing director Graham Meacher said, highlighting poor service in claims handling and issuing policy documents. “Documentation and that sort of thing should be a given, and if it isn’t then there is a serious problem with the management structure of that company.”

Brokers would be happy with insurers being more selective with their trading partners, Oval director David Wheatley said.

“If you’ve put the right sort of work in, you deserve the right sort of terms in the relationship,” he said.

The state of the UK economy is still causing clients to put off buying insurance, Willis broking director Lucy Taylor said, but added that she had seen a slight increase in sales.

She predicted that the economy would not see much real growth until next year, adding: “I think generally the economy is still in the doldrums. The majority of our clients are struggling.”

Meacher said he had seen some signs of an upturn in the economy.

“There are cashflow issues in the commercial sector, but there have been opportunities for entrepreneurial people to buy at a time when labour, property and rent are cheaper,” he said.