Authored by Sarah Mallaby
The world is changing faster than ever, and all businesses are having to adapt to the speed and reach of that change. Although change brings many opportunities, it also presents new risks. As insurers, we are responsible for helping our broker partners and their customers prepare for the future and support our mutual success. With this year’s BIBA theme being “our business community”, it’s the ideal time to reflect on how insurers and brokers combine expertise to deliver the best customer outcomes.
Now more than ever, success is reliant on strong relationships and partnerships. While these relationships have always been important, in recent years, their significance has really come to the fore. Collaboration is key and finding the best ways of working together is essential to cementing these relationships. We have all seen how COVID-19 has placed new value on in-person meetings, with purpose at heart of how we selection our channels of communications. Developing the hybrid model that works for all parties creates the basis of a successful working relationship of the insurer-broker team.
Understanding new and evolving risk and anticipating change should also be a priority when it comes to delivering to customers. Be it the impact of climate change, digitalisation or the changing regulatory environment, working with brokers to support their clients and provide them with the right cover and service requires close teamwork. By working together, we can adapt to the ever-changing risk landscape by developing and designing new products and understanding new regulatory and compliance issues. Understanding each other, and aligning values and purpose, is the key to a meaningful relationship.
It’s also essential for insurers to provide additional training and upskilling opportunities for their broker partners. Working with broker partners over time to understand their needs and requirements is helpful when preparing a useful and insightful offering. At AXA, we offer brokers support “to grow their people and grow their business” which includes our future leaders programme as well as technical training such as underwriting expertise, risk management and regulation. We also support with aspects of business such as marketing, HR requirements and a range of tools specifically designed for brokers.
There’s a huge amount of change taking place in the insurance industry and much of what’s going on makes being an insurance broker more challenging. For example, as an industry, we are seeing inflation driving rate increases, at the same time as capacity reducing in Property and Financial Lines in particular. To respond to these dynamics, brokers should look to engage earlier with insurers and customers, whilst also increasing their understanding of customer needs, ensuring the right cover is in place and the rating environment is understood.
In the past, insurer-broker relationships could have been considered purely transactional, with the different states of the market and other societal events influencing the way we work together. However, when you’re in difficult situations, that’s when you need relationships to fall back on. Now we’re coming out of that, and we’ve got the opportunity to go out and see brokers, the AXA trading teams are increasing their engagement in all ways, face to face, virtually and on social media in order to re-establish long-term partnerships and connections.
This year’s BIBA conference is an excellent platform to build, grow and reignite relationships and I’m looking forward the fruitful discussions, market insights and new opportunities that the conference provides. Find us at the AXA stand to explore how we’re working with brokers for mutual success.