The insurer plans to use a data-led approach to match brokers’ clients with suitable cover following mixed results in Insurance Times’s Five Star Rating Report: Commercial Lines 2020/21 

Aviva said it remains committed to supporting its customers and brokers as it received mixed results in Insurance Times’s Five Star Rating Report: Commercial Lines 2020/21.

The report, which is an annual research project compiled by Insurance Times, saw Aviva slip to third place in the rankings – behind Markel and Covéa Insurance - and lose its overall five-star rating, despite some impressive results and feedback from brokers.

The research gathers the views of a wide range of brokers across five key service factors. These include claims, policy documentation, quality of cover, relationship handling and management as well as underwriting.

This year’s results show that Aviva maintained its five-star rating for its overall cover and retained its four-star rating for brokers’ overall underwriting experience and overall claims experience.

Unfortunately, its relationship management and policy documentation scores slipped from five to four stars, which saw Aviva move out of the top two in the final rankings.

“It’s great to see that we have the top ranking for quality of cover within this year’s rating, which reflects our focus on service and product value for the coverage we provide,” said Phil Bayles, chief distribution officer at Aviva UKGI.

He added the insurer was naturally disappointed that it had been unable to maintain its previous position and ratings in what had been an incredibly challenging year for the market and its customers.

“We are disappointed to see our rating drop in a year when we have been committed to supporting our customers during the pandemic, through active risk management and guidance and proactive and engaged claims handling,” he explained.

“We will take on board the findings and look at where we can make improvements, particularly in our already strong relationships with brokers.”

Applying intelligence

On Aviva’s policy offerings, brokers were keen to have their say.

One broker talking about the insurer’s commercial combined product said: “The new commercial intelligence tool (CIT) is fantastic in identifying clients’ exposures and opportunities. A flexible approach to underwriting really helps.”

Another added that Aviva provides “wide coverage and real underwriting conversations rather than a ‘computer says no’ response”.

However, another broker told Insurance Times: “They are very slow at issuing renewal terms, which is extremely frustrating, and I never know who I am supposed to contact for new quotes and renewals. Their cover is good and they can be flexible, which is good.”

Bayles said the support for the firm’s development of its CIT system was encouraging given the effort the firm had invested in its development and delivery.

“We’ve built a market-leading commercial intelligence environment, powered by linking our own data with open-source databases, underpinned by trusted and transparent processes,” he said.

“At the heart of it, of course, are the underwriters and data science experts – people who know that the best outcome of data analysis is personal, enabling brokers to deepen their customer relationships.”

He added that the changing needs of the market caused by the Covid-19 pandemic enabled Aviva to use its systems to work with brokers to deliver covers that best suited clients’ specific requirements.

“Our initial focus is on ensuring our customers have the right cover in place that suits their needs,” said Bayles.

“Using our commercial intelligence tool, we can identify gaps in cover and other key customer details, which allows our underwriters to provide tailored services and personalised quotes.

“CIT is used by every commercial underwriter at Aviva and supports brokers and customers to ensure their cover is suitably matched to their specific insurance needs.”

He added that broker feedback has been incredibly positive around this, with brokers appreciating the role CIT plays in offering “great insight into their customers’ unique risk features”.

Tackling fluctuating risks

Looking to the year ahead, Bayles said both the insurance market and Aviva will face new demands, driven by the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the economic impact of the lockdowns.

Plus, it is likely that these demands will undergo further changes throughout the year as new risks are created, for example as employees return to the workplace and more agile working systems are implemented across businesses.

“Ensuring customers are adequately protected is a key market challenge – never more so than after 2020, as businesses were forced to adapt their operations to survive multiple lockdowns,” he continued.

“CIT helps ensure the right cover is in place, to avoid unexpected coverage gaps - particularly in an ever changing economic and risk landscape.”

The insurer said it will continue in its efforts to deliver ever greater levels of service to brokers.

“We are committed to supporting the brokers we work with and CIT is a great demonstration of this,” concluded Bayles.

“By providing them with data-led insight and analysis from CIT, brokers can use these insights to demonstrate their role as trusted risk advisors, supporting customers to make the right decisions.”

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