Technology is driving growth and change in the UK schemes market, according to the latest survey of scheme brokers by personal lines schemes underwriting agency UK General.

The survey 314 broking firms, conducted in association with Insurance Times between 15 February and 27 March this year, found that there had been a 24% increase in the number of brokers trading schemes on their own websites in the past two years.

The surveyed brokers also identified social media as the biggest opportunity for schemes growth during the next three years.

Key points

  • 60% of brokers are trading schemes on their own website
  • 84% of brokers said their schemes business has grown
  • Scheme brokers see increased competition as their biggest threat

UK General managing director Karen Beales said: “Technology is creating further headroom for growth in schemes, and we are confident that there remains plenty to go for.

“Sixty percent of brokers are trading schemes via their own website, which means 40% are not, so I urge brokers who are not using technology to get online before they miss the boat, and quickly.”

She added: “Brokers are telling us that white-labelled schemes and mobile accessibility will have the greatest impact on the market.”

Growth and threats

In other findings, the survey revealed that 70% of brokers believe the general insurance market has become more geared towards schemes, and 68% said that this growth has been achieved through specialist and niche classes of business rather than the mass market.

Some 84% of brokers said their schemes business had grown over the past five years, with 4% saying it was flat and 12% saying it had declined.

Some 55% of respondents saw increased competition as the biggest threat to scheme brokers, closely followed by meeting regulatory compliance requirements (43%) and price comparison sites accessing niche products (also 43%).

But the survey also fund that market confidence remained high, as 79% predicted their schemes business would increase or substantially increase by 2019.

Brokers also said that price is still by far the most important purchase decision for their customers, with 91% in agreement, up 4% from 2015. Breadth of cover, customer services and ease of access are also important criteria for buying an insurance policy.