Brokers will have greater access to underwriters

Zurich is offering brokers greater access to underwriters and a broader range of trades as part of its new SME business proposition launched this week.

The insurer has established new regional underwriting teams across the country that will focus solely on underwriting SME business for brokers.

It has also "enhanced" its product, offering a wider range of trades.

It will target businesses with a turnover under £5m.

The insurer said the launch of SME Combined Business was an attempt to differentiate itself from other SME insurers and had been made in response to brokers' demands.

Zurich market management director David Smith said: "The key differentiator is the access to underwriters. This is in contrast to the general market movement to mechanise more and more."

He said Zurich would be "competitive" in its pricing, but insisted the company would not be going "head to head" with competitors such as AXA and Norwich Union.

"We will be competitive with a wide range of trades and will use our expertise to differentiate ourselves and put the right price on the right risk. The important thing is to have sustainable prices."

Smith said that for businesses with a turnover of under £2.5m, there would be a "significant" increase in the trades that Zurich could underwrite, because brokers could now discuss risks with the underwriters.

He highlighted manufacturing industry risks as such a sector.

He said Zurich did not aspire to be the number one SME insurer, but was looking to grow its book "slowly". It currently writes over £300m of premium in this sector.

Zurich SME channels

SME Combined - Commercial combined for businesses with turnover under £5m.

Direct access to underwriters.

Package - For retail, commercial vehicles and small property investors risks.

Quotes via internet.

SME Fleet - For fleets of five to 14 vehicles.

Direct access to dedicated team.