Insurer wants to grow SME book by £300m within five years

Zurich is planning to become a top-three SME insurer in five years after a multi-million pound investment in its new e-trade platform ZTrade.

The extranet site allows brokers to get a price indication on a product within 60 seconds and within 10% of the final price, according to director of SME Richard Coleman.

If the broker continues to search it can take three to four minutes to obtain a full quote on a simple package policy.

On more complex risks, the broker can communicate instantly with a Zurich underwriter by phone or via ZTrade to make more adjustments.

Growth plans

With the roll-out of the project, which Coleman said “costs eight figures”, Zurich wants to grow its SME business by £300m within five years.

This, Coleman said, would make Zurich a worthy challenger to Aviva, AXA and Allianz for the top three SME insurer position.

Coleman said: “We are seventh in the SME market. It is the only area of the UK commercial market where we are significantly underweight.

“We absolutely want to be one of the top three SME insurers. We have invested a significant chunk of money in order to grow so we will be a hungry SME insurer over the next few years.”

The move to launch ZTrade has been prompted by changes in customer needs. Coleman said customers want quotes faster, but also with more advice.

ZTrade will be rolled out to 800 brokers over the next month before it is pushed out wider to the remaining broker market.

The insurer has also increased its underwriting staff by one-third.

The platform will initially offer seven SME products for new businesses, but Zurich plans to roll out a full range within nine months. And its existing SME book will be migrated across, along with renewals.

Zurich’s previous extranet only offered shop and office products, while other SME products were traded manually over the phone or via email.