Insurance Times lead researcher Savan Shah discusses some of the key themes to emerge from the Insurance Times Etrading Insight report with NIG’s Jaime Swindle Director of broker Etrade.

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NIG’s Director of Broker etrade, is responsible for the ongoing development and distribution of NIG’s eTrade proposition. Jaime has spent the last six years leading the strategic development, launch and enhancement of NIG’s full-cycle eTrading platform, TheHub, as well as expanding NIG’s eTrading solutions on software houses including Acturis and PowerPlace.

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In 2016 brokers rated the NIG The Hub in the Insurance Times E-trading survey 4.01 out of 5 across a range of service areas*, in 2017 this score has increased to 4.05. What have you been doing over the year that has contributed to improving this score amongst brokers?

We continually develop our etrading proposition to ensure that our brokers have a great trading experience with us whatever platform they choose. Feedback from the previous 2 Insurance Times etrade surveys has been fundamental in driving our development plans. These have included a complete refresh of the look and feel of The Hub and additional functionality to be incorporated to make the trading user journey even better for our brokers. Our brokers have also benefited from changes we have made to our eProduct portfolio that reflect their feedback and changing customer needs.

A theme to emerge out of the Insurance Times etrade report was the breakdown of relationships between the broker and insurer. How do you balance the use of technology and the quality of engagement/personable service provided by NIG to brokers?

 Relationships are vital and we believe technology helps to reinforce this. Most our brokers want quick and consistent resolution to their queries, either online or via the telephone, so we focus heavily on delivering this.

 This year we have improved our Web Chat facility, (which over 90% of our brokers rate as 4 out of 5 for experience) and launched Queue for Me (where brokers can request a call back). We also invest heavily in training for our Underwriters that supports them to develop strong relationships with our brokers. This investment results in our brokers getting a fantastic experience when they do speak (online or offline) with our brokers and this is how strong relationships are built.

The speed of the referral process was a major concern for brokers in this year’s etrade report as this could be the difference on where cover is placed. What has NIG been doing to speed up the process for brokers?

 We have delivered initiatives to reduce the number of referrals generated across all our eProduct portfolio. We have also introduced a ‘submit to underwriter’ functionality which our underwriters target to clear in ‘real time’.

The Etrading survey asked brokers to convey what would encourage them to place more business through the NIG the Hub platform, with comments varying from more integration with software houses, eliminating double keying and training on how to get the best out of the system. How is NIG responding to these broker needs?

Making our eProducts available where our brokers want to trade has always been a key part of our etrading strategy. As such, as well as The Hub, all our eProducts are available via Acturis and PowerPlace Micro. We are also currently working with Applied Systems to launch integrated Property Owners and Tradesman which are already available on Open GI PowerPlace SME. These developments are initiated on an on-demand basis.

The Etrade report highlighted a growing frustration amongst brokers that product selection, service, quotations, deals and question sets differs between extranets and software houses forcing them down a specific route of trading even when using the same insurer. Do you feel these frustrations for brokers will continue or is the gap lessening?

There has been huge progress over the past ten years in terms of the balance between what is available via insurer own extranets and Software Houses, with far more consistency and availability. However, we must remember that the role of software houses is much more than a trading platform, they are also the back-office system of the broker. The questions set, functionality, look and feel are all owned by the particular Software House. iMarket enables a large amount of consistency when it comes to etrading but there is likely to always be some differences.

When it comes to Insurer extranets, these are all in the gift of the insurers to design and develop, so the trading choice is for the broker depending on their preference.

At NIG, we integrate the products available on TheHub to the Software Houses directly to reduce this frustration, however there are still a vast number of brokers who do want to trade directly and we will continue to support both channels.

NIG were one of the first to introduce web chat to its platform with many following suit, how have you improved this popular functionality for brokers and are there any innovations in the pipeline you can tell us about?

Our Web Chat facility now enables brokers to have chats with product specific underwriters.

Our ‘in chat’ transfer facility enables seamless transfers to another underwriter if required. Screen sharing is now also available so our underwriters can see the screen the brokers are viewing to enable even better support with their user journey.

Over 90% of our web chats are consistently scored 4/5 by our brokers which demonstrates the strength and quality of this functionality. Watch this space for other new developments.

Key technologies, such as innovations in infrastructure and productivity, online sales applications, advanced analytics, machine learning, automation, robotics and virtual reality, have already begun to disrupt industries and are projected to accelerate in the next 3-5 years. How do you envisage the NIG the Hub to change in the years ahead and what are your thoughts on these innovations impacting E-trading in general?

We are already seeing the use of smart devices being used in risk selection and claims mitigation. Video and drone technology is also used now in the claims process and these are all having hugely beneficial effects for the customer.

 I think the most important focus when looking at new innovative developments should be to ensure there is always a benefit to the user (in our case the Broker) and/or the end consumer, in either improving the experience or enabling more control. So I can certainly see more and more happening in this space providing it meets these key requirements.

What has been your proudest moment since being involved in Etrading?

I was fortunate enough to join NIG to set the etrading agenda six years ago and during that time I have been part of creating and launching The Hub, building the team that sits behind it and more recently running the underwriting operation that service it. Seeing this vision come to life and consistently rated as being top of the market makes me extremely proud.

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