Insurers are attempting to build long-term relationships with brokers, but the latter are not so easily persuaded since they have been burnt in the past

Is this love for real? It’s Valentine’s day and it appears that some insurers are in an amorous mood and attempting to romance small brokers (page 16).

Zurich is certainly spreading the love around. It has recruited 15 account executives, and one of its key missions is to grow business with small brokers.

Meanwhile, AXA is planning to make a big wooing offensive on personal lines brokers, with a planned push kicking off at Biba. Aviva has also shown a lot more consistency with small brokers over the past three years, especially since loosening ties with the high-volume, high-commission consolidators.

There’s certainly a lot of positive intent. The trouble is that there’s still an awful lot of suspicion among small brokers. They’re concerned about switching their books as they fear the big boys will cut ties as soon as the going gets tough. For this reason, in recent years, brokers have favoured managing general agencies and emerging players such as Ageas and LV=.

The bottom line is that if big insurers are serious are about building long-term sustainable relationships with small brokers, they’ll have to convince them that the days of loving and leaving them are over.

Romancing the public

It seems a week can barely pass by without another technological breakthrough in the insurance industry. Take LexisNexis (page 6). It is the brains behind an electronic no-claims database, which could be running real-time for quotes within a year. This is great news for insurers looking to reduce fraud and underwrite more accurately.

However, these new developments come with more responsibility. Insurers will have to be transparent with their customers in respect of how they are using the data. A big public image battle remains to be won. Let’s hope the insurers, with help from the ABI, can win this one.