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Blog: The future of commercial broking

Sharon Bishop

Sharon Bishop, Close Brothers Premium Finance CEO, explores the findings of the CBPF/Insurance Age Survey for commercial brokers.

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.’

Over 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.

Brokers were asked a number of questions about growth, technology, M&A, diversity and well-being, and the future for the profession. The good news is that brokers are overwhelmingly optimistic about growth.

That’s a great testament to our industry in these uncertain times, but we wanted to drill down and find out the detail that lies behind this optimism, and also look at the challenges too.

Technology and growth
Brokers identified premium increases and increased numbers of customers as the main growth drivers. 86% said they would grow their customer base and 50% said they expected prices to rise. Yet, interestingly, only 11% said that the impact of investment in technology would feed through to growth.

There are however different perspectives on technology between personal and commercial lines brokers and their respective customers. Commercial brokers are less inclined towards technology, and it’s not surprising that the levers they pull to deliver growth are business development and price increases.

But there are emerging technology solutions to assist commercial brokers and tune them in to the huge benefits it can bring to their customers. Our Payment Services solution, for example, now makes it easier for commercial brokers to collect the premium from their customers, irrespective of how they want to pay.

It’s so much better for the customer too, as they can choose their preferred method of payment, as well as actually making the payment, all from our online portal.

Payments
Only 43% of SMEs have heard of premium finance, and 45% say they pay for their insurance in full. Historically premium finance has just been an enabler for the insurance purchase, but at CBPF we think premium finance can do more to help businesses with their cash flow, we designed our payment services technology for larger commercial brokers as well as brokers writing SME business.

The design principles are fundamentally focused on speed, choice and enhanced services. We’re also keen to help brokers raise awareness of the benefits of premium finance among their customers and make inroads into the 57% of SMEs who aren’t aware of the premium finance option and could benefit from improved cashflow, leading to better retention for brokers.

With all our technology solutions, the aim should be to sit behind the scenes as the seamless and quiet provider, working in the background to deliver the trusted technology that brokers can plug into, without having to make big financial bets themselves.

Sharon Bishop is CEO of Close Brothers Premium Finance. She speaks about commercial lines in our recent video and also addresses the personal lines market in another video and blogThis blog is sponsored and not editorially independent.

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