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Broker Week 2022: Meeting customer needs in a changing market


Now’s not the time for cutting back on protection. The industry must understand its customer needs and make products relevant, convey the benefits and thereby build trust, according to Laura Mullaney, managing director of distribution at BGL Insurance.

“It’s more about value than price and enabling customers to understand the value they are getting from a product when they haven’t got as much disposable income. We are, therefore, moving toward a value-based proposition.”

“You need to have the right processes in place to message, reassure, and promote how we can support customers, not just at point-of-sale, but throughout their journeys.”

In 2016, Glasgow-based CCRS Brokers started working with InnovateUK and Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School to create a new business model for the market that embraced changing client expectations and moving to a more transparent customer-focused approach.

Since then, it has designed, built, and integrated an entire ecosystem of apps into the business, from supporting account directors, to providing the correct advice to clients, to digitising their file-auditing processes.

At Aon UK, it believes digital transformation has helped not just in retaining clients, but in growing its client base.

“Building an SME digital business has allowed us to have access to customers that were primarily searching online. Additionally, corporate clients and Affinity partnerships often want a digital experience for their customer base. So, we can integrate via APIs (application programming interfaces) onto another company’s ecosystem for their customers to benefit from insurance,” Martyn Denney, Aon UK’s head of innovation and investments, explained.

“Our new operating model has allowed us to serve the underserved better, as micro and SME businesses are often the ones that most need advice but don’t receive it.”

Customers want a choice in communication methods and providing this helps improve customer trust and loyalty.

“We see different preferences from customers across our various brands, so it’s important to give that choice,” said Richard Morley, broking director for Markerstudy Broking.

The industry strives to be quicker, more transparent, and more 24/7, driven by both consumers and competition among providers. Allowing customers to buy online, access their documentation and make changes 24/7 makes life easier for the customer and increases the number of transactions handled.

However, it is just as essential to have skilled teams who assist the customer when their query is more complex, Morley added. “We aim to ensure that the customer receives the right outcome – not necessarily the quickest.”

Breaking down misconceptions

According to Denney, there has always been a misconception that increased digitalisation means reduced client interaction and a more impersonal experience. He disagrees: “Digital allows us to enhance the client experience, either through the delivery of documentation or providing insight through data. The demand is increasing, so brokers must invest in this area as it is the future. Combining data-led insights with brokers’ depth of expertise is a compelling combination.”

Data and analytics help brokers spot trends and market opportunities. Neil Campbell, managing director at CCRS, shared how its platform has digitised and streamlined its data capture process for mid-market business: “It has not only transformed how we obtain vital risk details from clients ensuring high-quality information but has significantly improved how we access, analyse and utilise critical management information.

“Before developing our ‘Digital Broker’ platform, key client data was stuck in silos, almost inaccessible and made any meaningful analysis almost impossible.

“Access to this level of data has enhanced our relationships and discussions with insurers as we can provide valuable feedback based on this analysis in real-time and hold them accountable based on their performance with their peers. We have also been able to identify opportunities for consolidation and work with insurers to create bespoke products that meet clients’ needs.”

For Mullaney, it’s about increasing sources of information, whether it be environmental, location-based and/or demographic-focused, and analysing this data to understand where the opportunities lie and where there are growing needs for specific covers.

She also highlighted the importance of data analysis being underpinned with a clear data ethics strategy to ensure that data is used only for the right purposes.

Broker Week

This article forms part of Broker Week in association with Applied Systems. To learn more please visit our sister site Insurance Hound

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