Brokers and insurers will be out in force once again at this year’s Biba conference. Three brokers speak about their expectations for the event, what Biba does well as an organisation and how it can improve
Stuart Randall, chief executive, Ataraxia Broking
“This is a great conference. Biba is a fantastic meeting place or forum for brokers. It’s particularly useful because everyone is there. You can save miles and miles of travel by seeing everyone at the same time. You can get around and have meetings with the right type of people at the right time, so it’s a great networking space.The insurers regard it as quite a flagship and it’s a main event, but not for all of them.
“But the biggest challenge Biba has had is that a lot of brokers who you really want to be there don’t go. It tends to be the larger brokers that go. There are more brokers going than previously, and having it in Manchester is a good thing. But there are still a lot of brokers who really should be getting out to meet the insurers, but don’t go because they are too busy doing their day jobs. To my mind there’s great value in going to Biba – it is about how you include and encourage them to go. It would just be nice to have a broad cross-section of brokers going.”
Alex Alway, group chief executive, Jelf
“Biba is recognised by everybody as being the voice of the broking community. However, that voice isn’t loud enough in my opinion. Some of the stuff they are doing around training and development and working with other parties is fine. But I feel that the lobbying and the loud, powerful and effective voice of broking still needs to be heard. I’m hopeful that with Andy [Homer] going over there, he and Eric [Galbraith] will provide a powerful force for us.
“What is the vision statement? A lot of it is in response to what government puts out, and what they don’t really do is set their stall out and say: this is where we want to be.
“I am going to do a lot of networking. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing one of our guys, Wayne Pontin, who is doing a presentation on health, which is an area of importance to us. I’m also using it as an opportunity to catch up with a few heads of insurance companies, and have a bit of fun as well.”
Ian Gosden, managing director, Higos Insurance Services
“I think Biba is very much championing
our cause as an insurance provision that is an alternative to aggregators and direct writers and the like. And I also believe they are trying to help us with the cost of regulation. I think they are doing a cracking job lobbying the relevant people in those areas.
“What I would like them to do better is put forward a more professional agenda. Their approach to membership is very much that they would rather everyone was included. Speaking personally, I would rather it was more what I call ‘proper brokers’.
“I think if we are to become a profession - and we are talking about chartered status and qualification and all the rest of it – brokers who don’t come up to those standardsshould not necessarily be in the club or represented by what should be seen the professional broking trade body.”