Grant Ellis has no option but to talk the way he does (On the record, insurancetimes.co.uk), as his business plan is contingent on that approach.
But insurance is no different from any other business and what surprises me is that no one still looks at what took place when the stock market had its Big Bang.
If people were to look at what happened then they would see that middle market capitalised firms had no option but to merge because they were paranoid about missing market share. Needless to say most went under and large firms cherry picked what they wanted.
What resulted finally were large well captalised dual capacity companies, and small boutique ones. What we presently have in the insurance industry is large undercapitalised and heavily debt-laden companies and small boutique brokers.
We also have not seen any foreign investment and the clubby approach still is way too predominant for this industry’s good.
Ellis talks a good line, but until real time efficiencies are established and it is accepted that renewal retention rates are the key to true value, any changes over the next year will all come to nothing.
Joining a network will not be the panacea to believed problems. The way ahead is to accept that everyone’s business must be run like a business and get the efficiencies in situ to prosper. From then on mergers will make sense. Until that time, handicaps of cultural differences and control of funds will handicap the necessary progress this market so desperately needs.