Rob Fairs, RSA product and channel director for SME commercial lines, discusses how the insurer has developed its eTrading proposition over the last year

Rob Fairs

Rob Fairs

How has your extranet platform developed over the last 12 months and what developments do you have planned for the year ahead? 

Technology has been a big area of focus for us over the last 12 months.

We enlisted a group of brokers for testing and feedback purposes, to identify weak links in the online trading platform and then utilised this feedback to set up a change programme around RSA Online.

We’ve optimised online journeys, with a team of developers over four big change releases, with 335 changes made to our RSA Online platform. As a result, we have seen an increase in usage across the platform.

RSA Online has been brought right up to date with new trading tools to boost experience, as well as the introduction of a personalised dashboard to make eTrading with us easier and a better experience for brokers.

Our focus for 2024 is about moving ahead of the market, continuing to make incremental improvements across our different product journeys.

The plan is to deploy further major releases alongside our routine changes. We’ll continue to work with brokers, seeking feedback to ensure that our platform is accessible and more importantly provides trading ease for all brokers.

Within this year’s survey, brokers are rating insurer extranets on aspects such as usability, trading ease and the quality of support available. What has been done to develop these areas further to benefit brokers?

New trading tools that were introduced in 2023 include our trade search tool, where you can do a quick check to ensure you select the right product for the trade; a quote version tool, which allows you to create and store multiple quotes for a client; a flood risk tool that allows a broker to check a property’s flood risk and underwriting acceptance; and a quick Quote tool, which provides functionality for an indictive quote by answering five simple questions.

We have also added additional extras to our online platform, such as the ability to to add reminder notes and and auto save function for if you need to leave a quote midway through.

At the end of 2023, we launched an exciting new feature on RSA Online to make eTrading with us easier via personalised dashboard. Features include a view of upcoming renewals, referrals, recent activity and retargeted quotes.

We have now made it easier to contact us with one single phone number for all SME queries and we have introduced SME product-specific mailboxes, to ensure that emails are directed to correct product focused teams.

How have you further developed speed of response for brokers over the last year? 

Over the past year we have transformed every area, driving change at pace and constantly keeping broker feedback at the heart of what we do.

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We’ve increased our underwriting population by 40% and have structured our teams so they are focused on specific products and have a greater depth of expertise.

Licence progression has also been a key area of focus for our underwriters, to ensure our people are empowered when making decisions.

We have optimised online flow working through our product rules to better understand what triggers referrals from the online journey into the operations centre and ensuring, wherever we can, that we now give brokers an instant yes or no on a quote without compromising our underwriting.

The only traffic that refers is what really needs to, helping broker efficiency and maximising centre capacity. We have moved from seven out of 10 cases flowing, to over 9.5 out of 10.

We offer in the moment support via our real-time channels, telephony and live chat, with a 93% overall live chat satisfaction rate. 

The 2024 eTrading Survey also aims to explore how brokers perceive the referrals process for more complex products. How have you developed and improved this eTrade referrals process at RSA? 

When we look at our products today, we have seen an 80% reduction in our product variants, which has removed unnecessary complexity in our business.

Support for brokers on more complex products has been made easier with the introduction of one single phone number to contact us on and our live chat channel has been optimised through the removal of queue capping, to ensure we have underwriters ready to engage with brokers when required.

We have a market leading offering through our more complex business combined product and are ranked consistently near the top of any panel information that the larger brokers share with us.

By focusing on flow, we can ensure that the business that refers are the cases that we want to underwrite – this is more important where we have complex cases requiring much more manual touch and, crucially, drives a better broker experience.

How do you see the eTrading arena developing over the next three years? 

We plan to continue the development of utilising external sources, such as LexisNexis, to help with sophistication of our eTrading development plans. With artificial intelligence (AI), the scope and ease of use will only increase.

We recognise that the ability to drive automation in our business will, in turn, keep costs low for the broker and our business overall.

We will also look to introduce more effective triaging in our processes, which will enable our underwriters to focus on more complex risks as opposed to transactional processes.

We have already started to improve our digital monitoring within our digital team utilising tools such as Google Analytics to monitor statistics such as drop out rates and broker behaviour whilst trading online. 

This will help us to understand which areas we need to work on for a seamless online broker journey. AI should enable us to take this to the next level of sophistication, driving the ability to proactively respond and improve the digital user experience.

Finally, we are actively looking at the use of user interface to enable us to better triage cases, as introducing automation into triage will drive efficiencies and enable underwriters to focus on elements of a case that truly matter.

What actions have taken place since witnessing the feedback given by brokers in last year’s survey? 

Throughout 2023, we focused on obtaining as much feedback as possible from our brokers. We knew we needed to provide consistently good service and we did just that.

We made it easier to contact us by launching one direct phone number into our SME team, as well as the introduction of dedicated mailboxes for each product.

We’ve had consistently positive feedback from our brokers on these changes, with 93% of brokers saying the service they receive from us is good or excellent.

Another area of improvement we know we needed to make was in terms of our relationships with brokers. That’s why we introduced our digital broker managers, who are here to provide support when placing business online, as well as engaging with brokers to seek feedback on areas that we can improve.

Another area of focus was to ensure that we increased our communication to brokers via targeted email and social media campaigns to make sure they had the latest view of what was happening in RSA eTrade.

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Click here to take part – all brokers that complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win £250 worth of John Lewis vouchers

Explore more eTrading-related content here or discover other news stories here