BIBA 2023 AXA UK Blog: Rising to the challenge for our customers


Authored by Jon Walker, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Commercial

The 2022 BIBA conference was a significant moment last year and I have regularly reflected on it since. It marked the start of the ‘new normal’ and saw many of us come back together in person after a long spell apart. We witnessed the power of collaboration and a reinforcement of the strong relationships which can be fostered between insurers and brokers.

However, 2023 presents another set of challenges and opportunities as we face into the enduring cost-of-living crisis and ongoing uncertainty throughout the UK. Following the pandemic, the emergence of new risks and issues shows no sign of relenting, and our customers continue to face substantial obstacles. This is why the BIBA Conference 2023 theme of ‘rising to the challenge’ is so apt. It’s time to take action to proactively and innovatively support our customers, colleagues and partners to thrive this year and beyond.

I expect rising inflation to continue to have an impact across the insurance sector, from pricing and claims to repairs and procurement. This has been driven by a number of factors, including Covid-19 and the geopolitical situation causing global supply chain disruption and skills shortages. Unfortunately, there seems to be little sign of this letting up. As an industry, we must continue to work with our customers to manage this impact and ensure they are treated fairly, and claims are dealt with promptly.

As part of this, collaboration will be key as we work towards the Consumer Duty deadline in July, so I hope to see this as a focus area for the industry. Firms will need to work together to deliver change and insurers should be putting themselves in their customers’ shoes to really get to grips with the requirements. For intermediated business, brokers are essential and we must work together at every stage. With an in-depth understanding of their customers, brokers are best placed to identify, evaluate and communicate a customer’s needs and work with insurers who are, in turn, designing, producing and servicing the products that meet their needs.

The Consumer Duty is entirely consistent with running a business oriented towards the customers it exists to serve and is ever more important in the face of new risks and challenges. Working in partnership towards this end throughout the distribution chain will not only help us deliver more value for our customers but it makes strong business sense too.

Another area in which I believe we need to step up is digital and technology. There has been a rapid uptake of digital solutions across the personal lines market and I hope to see commercial lines make further progress in 2023. I believe the digitalisation in specific segments within commercial lines is already accelerating and it’s essential to keep pace and maintain the rate of change. As we move beyond modernising internal processes, the next step will be to enable more digital interaction, more self-service and more innovative products. Anticipating customer requirements will be key as will upskilling our people with the tools that allow streamlined processes to become the norm.

Looking forward, we will see customer expectations continue to evolve and insurance will increasingly need to focus on personalisation, prevention and sustainability. It’s up to us to embrace these opportunities to remain competitive and continue to serve our customers.

As the industry rises to these challenges, we must keep our customers at the heart of everything we do and aim to give people reassurance by providing support and helping to protect against a range of risks. Many people recognise the safety net insurance provides and understand its benefits, particularly in these uncertain times. However, we need to work hard to raise awareness among those who perhaps don’t yet understand the importance of having protection for what matters to them. Insurers have a vital role across society and we stand ready to play our part in uncertain times and when businesses and customers need us most.


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