Insurance Times speaks to BrokerFest 2020 speaker Brett Warburton-Smith, partner and client advocate at broker Lockton, about hard-hitting market impacts

Broker Lockton’s partner and client advocate Brett Warburton-Smith predicts that a hardening market is set to impact brokers in 2020, especially affecting professionals that may not have brokered in this type of market climate before.

With this in mind, Warburton-Smith urges industry peers to attend Insurance Time’s BrokerFest 2020 event in order to “arm themselves for a hardening market over the coming year or two and to improve their knowledge on specific specialist subject matters”.

Threats and opportunities

If a hardening market is the main threat on brokers’ horizon, where does Warburton-Smith see the spaces for opportunity and growth? Mainly, he said, in the competition from the digital community, as well as artificial intelligence (AI).

Furthermore, Warburton-Smith believes that the recent wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is driven by “opportunism and the need for scale and size to continue delivering shareholder value”.

Despite Brexit being very much on the industry’s radar, Warburton-Smith is unsure how this will eventually impact brokers. “Other than new offices and regulatory issues being dealt with, I’m not sure yet,” he said.



Digitalisation, on the other hand, is already making its presence known within the broker arena.

“Some have embraced [digitalisation], others are burying their head in the sand and don’t have the funds to explore [it, or] the inclination or know how to go about it,” Warburton-Smith said.

“Others, such as Lockton, are embracing it and seeing it as a real differentiator to our clients.”

Silent cyber

At BrokerFest 2020, Warburton-Smith is presenting a session entitled ‘Silent Cyber’. This will explore the removal of silent cyber cover from Lloyd’s policies, as from 1 January 2020, the market has mandated that all insurers are required to provide clarity about cyber insurance by either excluding it or providing affirmative coverage.

“It is something we should be concerned about [as well as] what the consequences [are] of the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) changes,” Warburton-Smith added.

This is just one of the issues that will be explored at BrokerFest on 11 February 2020. Taking place at etc.venues County Hall, in central London, BrokerFest is a one day event designed to help brokers do better business. A limited number of free delegate places are available for brokers. Find out more here.