Savan Shah speaks to the departing commercial lines and high net worth (HNW) director of Covéa Insurance, Simon Cooter on the Five Star rating awarded by brokers in the commercial lines report
In the Insurance Times Five Star Rating Report Commercial lines, brokers that took part awarded Covéa Insurance with an overall five-star rating. What do you attribute the 5-star rating to?
The simple answer is our people.
I think we have a great team! We’re absolutely clear that if we do a consistently great job for our customers then we will be more successful. Brokers tell us that they want access to decision makers – at all levels – and we try and provide that.
We listen to what our brokers want, and we try and make it easy for brokers to do business with us.
This year we had 640 commercial lines brokers take part in the survey, providing feedback on areas working well for their brokerage. What impact does the broker feedback have on Covéa as an organisation?
In a market as competitive as ours, it’s always great to get positive recognition and, whilst we constantly measure the service we provide to brokers and their customers, it’s fantastic to get this independent validation, especially in the Insurance Times Broker Service Survey.
Our immediate reaction to the result of the survey was to celebrate as a whole business because while it is our front-line underwriting and claims teams who rightly get the plaudits, the role of all of our people in the support teams and functions can’t be under-estimated.
Once we’ve celebrated the fact that we achieved a five star rating, and finished as the highest rated insurer overall, we then focus on the detail, particularly areas for further improvement.
If we rest on our laurels, it’s clear that we will be overtaken – and we don’t want that!
Covéa achieved a Five-Star rating in 3 out of the 5 service areas explored in the survey - underwriting, accessibility and policy documentation.
What strategy do you have in these areas that have resulted in receiving a high rating by commercial lines brokers?
Firstly, we seek to attract great underwriters and then invest in them, our commercial and HNW Academy is a big part of that.
Secondly, we have a rolling programme of product development and enhancement and try to make sure that they keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of customers.
Thirdly, I think it is really important that we, as a team are readily accessible to our partner brokers. Things go wrong occasionally and being available and willing to put things right quickly can make a huge positive difference.
In the two remaining service factors, Covéa Insurance achieved a high four star rating in ‘claims’ and ‘quality of cover.’
What do you attribute this rating to and what plans do you have in the pipeline that could contribute to Covéa achieving a five star rating when we ask brokers to rate these areas again, later in the year?
I think one of the missing pieces of the jigsaw was the fact that we didn’t have an e-trade Commercial Combined product.
We’re putting that right with our new product now in pilot. Like our new mid-market Excel Business Combined product, it will offer brokers a great wording including various options for cyber cover. We have high hopes for this product and early feedback from the pilot brokers has been really positive.
On claims, I’m really proud of the fantastic work that our claims teams do every day and our four star rating is really positive, but of course we want five stars. Our strategy is to offer a HNW level of claims service to our commercial customers and I’m confident that some of the initiatives that we are working on will see a five star rating next time.
On the 23rd of October 2018, it was announced that you will step down as director in 2019.
Under your leadership the commercial and HNW business has grown into a £270m GWP operation. Looking at the years ahead, how would you like to see the commercial lines and HNW insurance evolve?
Frankly, I’m just part of the team. Everyone who works with us knows how much strength and depth we have as an organisation. As a team we are all clear on the importance of excelling in everything we do for our customers. This is equally true in our Personal Lines and Protection businesses – it’s part of our DNA as a business.
I am certain that this ethos will continue long after I have departed. I expect to see our commercial & HNW business continue to go from strength to strength, and to continue to innovate and evolve as we have been doing in the last few years.
It will be a case of Simon who?