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Blog: A personal service?


Close Brothers Premium Finance CEO Sharon Bishop explains how suppliers can invest to help personal lines brokers thrive in a 24/7 world.

The Close Brothers Premium Finance (CBPF) Broker Survey, conducted earlier this year in partnership with Insurance Age, provided insight into ‘what the broking world is thinking.’ 560 brokers participated in the survey from across the UK. 11% were personal lines brokers, 62% commercial and the remainder a mixture of commercial and personal lines.

We gained some fascinating insights from brokers about growth, technology, M&A, diversity and wellbeing, and the future for the profession. And the strong message emerging was that suppliers who work with personal lines brokers need to help them respond to customers wanting a seamless rapid and frictionless process, which they are used to receiving through the aggregators that give information to the customer at the point of quote. 

Personal lines brokers serving these customers need information at the point of quote to assist their decision to take on a particular risk. Moreover, the nature of their interactions with customers means they want tech support that is always there, and always on, 24/7.

What does this mean for suppliers like CBPF? We’ll need to move our data insights from the back end of the buying process, where we’ve historically sat as a finance provider, to the front end at the point of quote, where our insights, for example on credit information and affordability can be made available so much earlier and will help the broker and their customers make the right decision quickly.

Personal lines brokers I talk to are leading the way in the technology space. They know that data science and technology-driven customer insight are key to maintaining a competitive edge. As a result, personal lines insurance has evolved using data analytics models. The result is less risk that brokers make a poor decision, and customers get a quick result.

So, our ambition is to continue our investment to provide the 24/7 front end data insight for personal lines brokers. We also have to, quite rightly, deal with the challenges of customer data protection, and make sure that tech-based services do not infringe privacy.

The point is that this journey is long-term, so at CBPF we take a long-term view of investment. We need deep pockets and the expertise and insight to know how best to make technology bets that support our broking partners to deliver the high-quality service to their customers that makes them happy to put their trust in that brand again and again.  

Sharon Bishop is CEO of Close Brothers. This blog is sponsored and not editorially independent.

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