Allianz’s digital trading manger, Julie Tongue tells Insurance Times’s head of research Savan Shah about its improved ranking to second position and achieving a four star rating for the third consecutive year in the e-trading star ratings survey
Insurance Times’s 2021 e-trading star ratings survey is out now.
Brokers awarded Allianz QuoteSME an overall four-star rating in the 2021 e-trading survey, this year marked three consecutive years in achieving this rating by brokers. What do you attribute this rating to?
We’re really pleased to have improved our ranking to second overall and achieve a four star rating for the third consecutive year, for our extranet, QuoteSME. We attribute this to QuoteSME being an easy to use, intuitive site, with our wide breadth of Defaqto five star rated products having clear, dynamic question sets and being designed to meet our customers’ needs.
Following feedback from last year’s e-trading survey we have taken significant steps to substantially reduce the volume of referrals experienced via QuoteSME, and where a referral is generated, we have ensured we improve the speed of response to our brokers.
QuoteSME is supported by a team of qualified underwriters who have remained accessible throughout 2020 and 2021, by a variety of communication methods.
We know we can’t rest on our laurels and that is why throughout the next 12 months we are looking to develop QuoteSME further; enhancing our pricing capabilities to ensure we provide the best price first time and improving our UI and live chat capabilities to ensure we continue to provide our brokers with the quality and level of service they expect.
When looking at the performance of insurers via a software house, brokers awarded Allianz an overall three-star rating in the 2021 e-trading survey, this year marked three consecutive years in achieving this rating by brokers via a software house system. What do you attribute this rating to?
Allianz received three stars across all service factors for trading via a software house, we recognise that this is an area we can improve in and this is a focus for us throughout 2021. We have been working hard to reduce the number of referrals brokers experience when trading with Allianz via a software house; identifying and eliminating the most common reasons for brokers contacting us and improving our underwriters’ access to software house information.
It is our intention to make great strides in this area over the coming months to ensure it is easy for brokers to trade with Allianz.
Following feedback from brokers on our policy range via software houses we are pleased to announce we are now live with our Complete Mini Fleet product via one software house and are looking to extend this to other software houses too.
When analysing the performance of insurer extranets across 5 major service factors, brokers for a consecutive year awarded Allianz QuoteSME an overall five-star rating in the quality of support provided through the platform. How has the quality of support developed on Allianz QuoteSME over the last few years?
Allianz has a strong focus on the support we provide our brokers and we pride ourselves on our long standing reputation for our high quality of service. Our team of qualified underwriters are available via a number of communication channels and we continually to invest heavily in these channels.
When we went into the first lockdown in 2020 we were able to mobilise our small business teams to work from home within 24 hours, ensuring brokers had uninterrupted access to underwriters during an uncertain time. Our claims teams were also on hand to provide ongoing support to both our brokers and customers during this time, being able to communicate with our claims teams via live chat.
We are continuing to remove unnecessary barriers to trade, making Allianz easy to do business with, as well as further developing our live chat capabilities.
Brokers were asked to rate the performance of Allianz via software houses across 5 service factors. Focusing on usability and trading ease where Allianz achieved a three-star rating by brokers – can you discuss the processes and collaboration that takes place behind this important service factor?
We are always open to feedback from our brokers, whether this be via more formal methods such as Insurance Times surveys, our own surveys and interviews, or via ad hoc feedback.
We work closely with brokers to identify and understand the specific scenarios/challenges they have experienced when trading with Allianz via software houses and we work with them to explore options to resolve, including tripartite conversations with the software house.
Similarly we work closely with each of the software houses to exchange feedback and collaborate on new ideas to improve usability and trading ease.
Referrals continue to be an area of frustration amongst brokers, across all 850 brokers taking part this year using a variety of platforms. The survey found 44% of brokers waiting a day or more than two, a big increase from the 25% of brokers who experienced this last year.
What do you think has caused this spike and what efforts are being made at Allianz to speed up the referral process?
Allianz have worked extremely hard to ensure brokers experience of our service levels have not deteriorated during a time where everyone moved to a working from home model. Our small business teams were mobilised to be working from home within 24 hours of lockdown being announced and had no challenges in accessing our IT or telephony system.
We have been working hard to reduce the volume of referrals across our whole e-traded product range, with some products now generating a third fewer referrals. We will continue to focus on this throughout 2021.
Brokers can continue to communicate with our small business teams via a number of methods to ensure any referrals are handled promptly.
An area brokers continue to comment on is the fear that more and more e-trading interactions with underwriters are becoming more rigid and in some cases a computer says no exercise if it doesn’t fit the box perfectly, how are you ensuring at Allianz that flexibly is given whilst giving underwriters greater decision-making power?
A broker can contact us at any point in their digital journey should they require support and our underwriters are empowered to make decisions to ensure a risk remains digital.
We have received feedback from brokers that they no longer wish to engage with insurers on smaller cases but do look for support for larger and more complex risks, where required.
Within Allianz we ensure our products are constantly evolving to reflect customers’ needs, the ‘computer says no’ due to risk appetite as opposed to a system restriction, and our underwriters are empowered to make immediate underwriting decisions to support brokers when needed.
Please tell our readers a bit about yourself and your passion for etrading, some of your proudest e-trading achievements with Allianz and please share any major etrading developments for the year ahead that brokers should be aware of?
My career in insurance began in underwriting, progressing quickly to portfolio management. I was underwriting focal point for the creation of QuoteSME, which is where I developed the passion for change, innovation and process improvement.
In my current role, as digital trading manager, I am responsible for ensuring Allianz’s digital trading capabilities continually evolve to meet ever changing customer and business needs. I am passionate about harnessing technology to deliver the best customer experiences and outcomes.
My proudest moments are achieving ‘Best Extranet’ award for QuoteSME at the Insurance Times Tech and Innovation Awards for two consecutive years, as well as being nominated for Technology Champion of the Year in 2020.
Allianz is investing heavily in data, analytics and technology to provide an increasing simple, digital offering. We’ve recently increased our software house product range and are enabling a smoother, fully digital journey with our partners to help them trade more effectively with us.
Throughout the next 12 months we will develop our digital trading capabilities further; including enhancing our pricing capabilities to provide the best price first time and improving QuoteSME’s UI and brokers’ experience with Allianz via software houses to ensure we provide our brokers with the quality and level of service they expect, whilst continuing to meet our customers’ needs.