From recession to combating fraud, the Broker Summit provided much food for thought, writes Emmanuel Kenning
The UK Broker Summit brought together over 60 of the most influential brokers with six key sponsors to discuss the main issues facing the sector. Economist Professor Roger Martin-Fagg opened the event, hosted by Insurance Age, and predicted that there would be no interest rate rise this year, but warned brokers the economy would enter a short double-dip recession.
“Last year there was a recovery caused by reduction in the savings ratio and massive central bank monetary stimulus. This will not continue,” he said. “Adjusted for inflation, real GDP will be negative for two quarters from March 2011, ie. we will be in recession again.”
He also warned that unemployment would start to rise again in the autumn and that businesses should prepare for five years of relative austerity.
The heads of the leading insurance brokerages in the country were also asked to share their opinions on the state of the industry. Using interactive handsets, their anonymous votes revealed that overall they do not believe the regulator is likely to create a new funding model for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and that only 7% of attendees believed their website was not important for generating business (see box for full results).
In a series of boardroom discussions, conducted under Chatham House Rules, delegates had the opportunity to debate with their peers and influential figures from the industry. Each attendee had the choice of six topics including new ways to generate revenue in a stagnant market and the spectre of commission disclosure.
One third of attendees had said in the voting that they had not alerted an insurer to fraud in the last 12 months. It was a point picked up in the roundtable hosted by Insurance Age ‘Combating fraud together – industry wide initiatives to stop it in its tracks’. As the discussion widened one broker noted that technology was beginning to impact on the issue and cited the example of cameras being embedded in cars primed only to go off in the case of an accident as proof that action to tackle fraudulent claims was developing.
Across the two-day event participants had the opportunity to network with the industry’s leading figures and there were also activities such as archery, quad biking, rifle shooting and chocolate making to try out in between sessions. After an evening of relaxing and networking, involving a formal meal and a wine tasting competition, brokers heard on the second day from political commentator and entrepreneur Mike Southon on what business can learn from politics. He concluded: “Great politicians understand vision and flow. It is all about putting the right balanced teams together, making a difference and leaving a legacy. Entrepreneurs, we wouldn’t touch politics... it is miserable being a politician.”
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