Aviva is ’constantly trying to listen to feedback’ from broker partners, says managing director of UK mid-market
In 2022, insurer Aviva was one of two firms to achieve a much coveted five star status in Insurance Times’ Five Star Rating Report: Commercial Lines 2022.
However, last year’s findings show that Aviva experienced a setback in 2023, dropping down to an overall four star score in the Five Star Rating Report: Commercial Lines and Personal Lines 2022/23.
This can primarily be attributed to the insurer losing a star against the report’s overall relationship management metric, moving from five stars to four stars – Aviva’s 3.96 score from 2021/22 fell to 3.81 for 2022/23.
The Five Star Rating Report: Commercial Lines and Personal Lines 2022/23 was based on Insurance Times’ Broker Service Survey, conducted between October and December 2022.
Polling 600 commercial lines brokers and 350 personal lines brokers in the UK general insurance market, the survey aimed to gather broker feedback on their insurer partners across service metrics such as claims and underwriting experience, quality of cover, policy documentation and relationship management.
Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Michael Yabantu, Aviva’s managing director of UK mid-market, said there was a “positive sentiment around Aviva” because the overall feedback received from brokers in the report was favourable.
Ryan Birbeck, Aviva’s broker development director, echoed this, pointing out that the insurer’s Q3 financial results – published in November 2023 – showcased a “strong performance”, which served as evidence of its “commitment to supporting brokers”.
In this trading update, Aviva explained that its UK gross written premium (GWP) jumped from £3.94bn to £4.54bn year-on-year.
This was due to improvements in its personal lines arm, which grew 20% between Q3 2022 and Q3 2023 to £2.15bn, while commercial lines revenue increased from £2.15bn to £2.39bn between Q3 2022 and Q3 2023.
However, brokers completing Insurance Times’ Broker Service Survey have demanded that the insurer giant does more.
Respondents asked: “How can you become simpler and more accessible, ensuring clarity on who to approach? How do we achieve greater consistency in our relationships and service delivery?”
Yabantu acknowledged that there is more work for Aviva to undertake in 2024 in order to meet brokers’ needs.
“We’re constantly trying to listen to feedback, change and respond in order to meet the demands and needs of our members and customers,” he said.
Yabantu added that the insurer had undergone an “evolution” over the last few years.
For example, Aviva announced a reshuffle of its distribution leadership team in July 2023, which saw Birbeck move into the role of broker development director, effective from January 2024.
Also in July 2023, in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) division, Yabantu was appointed as managing director of mid-market after leading the insurer’s mid-market, regional specialty lines and schemes business on an interim basis for the previous nine months.
Meanwhile, Aviva restructured its UK general insurance business more broadly in August 2022, consolidating its commercial lines book into its SME and global corporate and specialty markets divisions.
Yabantu explained that the leadership restructure aimed to simplify and better facilitate brokers’ access to the insurer, optimise its capabilities and foster more efficient collaboration.
Building on the foundation of these leadership changes, Yabantu said that Aviva’s primary focus for 2024 is on delivering its capabilities and services locally to brokers and customers, highlighting the importance of proximity and a personalised service.
As part of this approach, Aviva aims to simplify interactions with brokers by clearly defining their key local team in respective geographies, employing regional branch managers and ensuring separate new business and renewal teams to avoid confusion. The insurer will also look to modify and improve its policy administration service.
Birbeck added that in “chosen regions and markets,” distribution teams will focus on understanding brokers, assessing performance and identifying opportunities.
Additionally, each region will have a team for claims and client relationships – these will strive to provide optimal propositions to customers and improve overall customer service.
The primary objective of these internal tweaks is to provide a heightened focus on each core function, enabling a better utilisation of underwriters’ “strengths”, said Yabantu. In turn, this should enable the insurer to extend its offering to a broader spectrum of brokers and customers across the UK.
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