UKGI chief executive explains that the insurer is ‘really mindful of acting on broker feedback’

Meeting broker appetite to trade more products digitally is one of the key drivers why insurer Aviva has seen gross written premium (GWP) in its UK commercial lines book improve by 12% in the first half of 2022, according to Adam Winslow, Aviva’s UK and Ireland chief executive of general insurance.

In its 2022 half-year financial results, published on 10 August 2022, Aviva revealed that GWP in its UK commercial lines book amounted to £1,430m for H1 2022, compared to £1,280m for the same reporting period in 2021. This equates to 12% growth year-on-year.

The combined operating ratio for Aviva’s UK commercial book is 93.9% for the first six months of the year.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Winslow explained that within Aviva’s SME micro digital line, GWP has improved by 19% - he attributed this to the fact Aviva has “added more propositions, like mini fleet, into our eTrading proposition”.

He explained: “We’re seeing more brokers wanting to transact a proportion of their business digitally. So, the broker will is there.

“We’ve got a broader range of propositions and we’re continuing to invest heavily in that space. That combination is where you’re seeing some of that growth.”

Aviva performed well in Insurance Times’ most recent Five Star Rating Report: ETrading 2022, published in May 2022, which supports Winslow’s feedback.

For example, its extranet – Fast Trade – received a five star rating from brokers, with an overall score of 4.22. This enabled Aviva to nab first place out of the 13 insurers ranked for this service.

Its eTrading performance via platforms also received a five star rating this year – an increase on 2021’s four star accolade. The insurer’s overall score once again topped the table (4.03) beating nine other insurers that were also ranked for their service via platforms.

“Having a fuller proposition or range [of products available for] eTrading, whether that’s [via] the extranet or Acturis, is a key ask for brokers as they think about what they want to trade with us digitally and where they want to deploy their own face-to-face brokers in the communities that they serve so well,” Winslow said.

Growth across the board

Other divisions within Aviva’s commercial lines business that recorded GWP growth for H1 2022 include its global corporate and specialty division (11%) and the insurer’s SME book (12%).

“We’re feeling really comfortable,” Winslow said. “[The results demonstrate] that there’s a really good, well balanced portfolio [that is] running well.”

Alongside the focus on eTrading, Winslow noted that a further driver of GWP growth in commercial lines has been Aviva’s strategy to hire more underwriters into its regional trading teams – the insurer is aiming to expand the team by 10% each year.

This approach is “definitely helping our growth in the regions”, Winslow added.

However, the real success story behind Aviva’s commercial lines growth is that the figure represents the fruition of long-term hard graft that has been bubbling away in the background, Winslow noted.

“This isn’t something we’ve just done this year,” he explained.

“This is the result of many years of efforts, hence why I’m really happy because it’s not [just] one part of commercial lines [that has experienced growth]. It’s a nice blend across the three different parts that make it up.”

Broker feedback

Primarily, Winslow’s strategy for H2 remains the same as 2022’s H1 – to be “really mindful of acting on broker feedback”.

He said: “We spend a lot of time listening to our brokers, surveying our brokers. They are really transparent and really honest with their feedback. I’m always really happy to hear [feedback] because even if the news isn’t positive, you’d always rather know than not know.”

He believes brokers “insist” on having a positive “trading relationship” and “personal dynamic” with insurer partners – for Winslow, this means ensuring brokers know who to contact, that their contact is then available and empowered to complete decision-making.

“Capacity, skills and underwriting” are also key focal points for further fine tuning, he added.

“The feedback suggests we’re doing a good job, but there’s always more we can do,” Winslow said.