’Brokers have also realised that they are data brokers, not just risk brokers,’ says global head

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced brokers to play ”catch up” over the way they use technology and data.

That was according to Taffy Jo Mayers, WTW’s global head of commercial property, casualty and specialty insurance propositions, who said that firms were “scrambling” to find new ways of working because of changes in the working environment.

The pandemic, which began in March 2020, saw firms becoming more digitised as a result of lockdowns.

For example, it was noted that the pandemic had fast-tracked the adoption and implementation of touchless claims – which refers to a claim filed with very little contact from a human, often via an app – during a roundtable hosted by Future Processing earlier this year (15 June 2023).

Mayers explained that prior to the pandemic, ”brokers had not done much” in terms of investing in technology despite ”carriers leaning in very hard to invest in core and fundamental technologies”.

“Prior to the pandemic we did a quick market scan of the three main characters – [these were] the risks manager, the broker and the underwriter,” she told delegates during a panel discussion called Between tradition and innovation: How is the broking landscape evolving at the Insurtech Insights conference.

“We were looking to see where their priorities were in terms of data and technology transformation. Interestingly, the clients were all very much further ahead than anybody on our side of the business and were demanding that everyone catchup.”

And she said that after the pandemic hit the UK, brokers were “finding new ways of working” because the environment had changed and nobody knew if or when it would revert.

Mayers continued: “The brokers were then having to run to catch up. Brokers have also realised that they are data brokers, not just risk brokers and in order to harness the power of that data you actually have to be able to contain it in a structured way.”


Meanwhile, Mayers also noted that less than 20% of the broking industry was under 30-years-old.

Attracting talent to the insurance sector has been a worry for businesses, with what seems like the majority of insurance professionals acknowledging that they ‘fell’ into their current careers, rather than choosing to pursue roles in the industry.

And figures published by Aviva in 2022 for the insurer’s Broker Barometer showed that 98% of brokers were recruiting for roles in their business, with more than half (53%) revealing that a vacancy had been open for four months or more.

”You have all these people that are going to retire and fewer people coming into the industry,” Mayers said.

”How is this knowledge going to get transferred? We have to be able to utilise technology to transfer that data so the industry perpetuates itself.”


Meanwhile, Cecillia Sevillano, head of strategic partnerships at Swiss Re, said that there were several dynamics that are changing within the broking sector.

For example, she felt there were more cases of larger brokers are buying smaller ones with a “strong footprint”.

She also said there was an expansion in the role of reinsurance brokers towards more advisory services and analytics and felt there was a “restructuring of data and the buying of assets”.

“This is also rather new, [the] real preserving of it, doing inventories, structuring it, buying more data, buying [and building] their own assets”, Sevillano explained.

Oriol Gaspa Rebull, head of UK property analytics at Aon Reinsurance Solutions, said: “As a reinsurance broker, the best value we can add is getting a closer reinsurer [with] a client that has transparency, a lot of that is driven by underlying data analytics.”