Covéa Insurance’s director of regional operations Keith Hector speaks to Insurance Times lead researcher Savan Shah to discuss the strong performance in the Insurance Times Commercial Lines Broker Service Survey and the pace of change in etrading

Covéa Insurance was top in the Insurance Times Personal Lines Broker Service Survey whilst being second in the commercial lines survey. To what do you attribute that?

Mainly very hard work and dedication! We talk to our brokers and regularly ask them how we can help them to provide outstanding service to their clients. We then adapt our approach to give our brokers the service response they need to help them to stand out in front of their clients.

I think that across our business, we realise that if we provide an excellent service to our brokers and their customers, then we win more business and have more success as a result.

Underwriting Expertise & Flexibility is a great concern amongst brokers. Covéa Insurance scored very highly in this service category what’s your secret?

We have a team of highly experienced underwriters, both ‘brought up’ in house and in from other insurers. We’ve worked hard to equip them with the skills to help them further develop their expertise and careers. Our in-house Academy focuses not just on technical excellence but also on our service and trading skills to help our underwriters excel and provide the best possible support to our broker partners.

Brokers place different levels of business with their chosen insurers, however increasingly those brokers who place smaller volumes through an insurer are being encouraged down the online route when some prefer a more traditional personable approach that they once were very used to. Is there any difference in how Covéa treat brokers who place small amount of business in comparison to those brokers placing a large % of business?

The pace of change in e-Trading and in innovation in general has never been higher in our market. However we prefer not to dictate the method of access to our brokers, and let them decide which model works best for their business and people. We then work hard (those words again!) to tailor their experience and provide an excellent service at all points of contact, including our 30 minute referral response for enquiries that flag as ‘refer’ on-screen for smaller e-traded risks.

There are many issues that could potentially disrupt the insurance industry in 2018, What do you feel will be the biggest disruptor in 2018?

The number of acquisitions in the broking sector is at a level not seen for 10-12 years, if anything it’s faster, with ready access to capital. The models appear subtly different, with most brokers seeking business that is compatible to help with integration and to lock in the value of the people they have acquired. Regardless, those new businesses are seeking efficiencies and lots of books will be moved or brought to tender as a result. No matter what happens with broker consolidation in 2018, our focus will remain the same. To be easy to do business with, to excel on claims and underwriting service and work with brokers with whom we have shared values and where we can make a positive difference to their client proposition.

What’s in the pipeline for 2018?

More innovation! We have the first of our Commercial Showcases scheduled for March. Further product enhancements, even better development and training support for our brokers, further evolution of our excellent claims propositions, and more development opportunities for our people. And if we get all of that right some more very welcome recognition from the market!

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