Why was this panel discussion important?
It’s currently a very busy time in the Network space. Consolidations, acquisitions and new start-ups looking for their share at a time when insurers are reviewing their agency base as well as struggling on service.
This discussion was a chance to listen to the views of an Insurer and a broker outside of a Network whilst covering the realities and strengths of our offering. There can be confusion over what value a Network can bring and their role in the supply chain and we should take every opportunity to clarify our proposition but also highlight the benefit to customers, brokers and insurers.
This debate gave us a great opportunity to listen to the points of view of both a staunchly independent broker and of an Insurer and respond with our opinions.
Why are Networks so important?
At a time when insurers seem to have less representation in visiting brokers’ offices, and with the move to more and more business being transacted digitally, one of the ways Networks can demonstrate their value is in supporting the service and relationship between brokers and Insurer Partners.
For example, for a broker to decide on joining a network they should first identify what needs they have. Do they want support with market placement, access to markets, compliance support, or proposition support for clients?
With current market conditions, an increasing number of insurers are reviewing their broker agency base and offering, and we are hearing of brokers faced with losing agencies, access to markets, or having only partial access unless they can meet insurer requirements. This in turn also limits choices available to their customers. On this basis, we think there is an increasing argument for Brokers to look to join a Network that could help with some of these challenges.
Financial considerations are of course a determining factor. Networks can offer the opportunity for brokers to increase the growth of their business, enhance their earnings, reduce their costs, increase the value of their business, or give increased financial stability.
There are a variety of challenges a broker will face, whether it’s the increasing demands of regulation, training, development and recruitment of staff, sales and marketing, IT and back-office capabilities. Sometimes simply a shoulder to lean on, bounce ideas off or to seek guidance on situations others may have experienced or be able to help with is what is needed.
Joining a Network does not necessarily mean giving up independence as a broker or control of your business; its more about finding the proposition that works best for you.
What were your key takeaways from the BrokerFest panel discussion?
Networks need to be very clear on what they’re offering - which can also help them differentiate themselves from other Networks – and that is a key area of focus for us at Brokerbility.
We very much have a part to play supporting independent brokers, their clients and insurers. We need to demonstrate the various elements of our proposition and their value to brokers and insurers and continue to deliver on our promises.