Customer centricity has always been essential to the value proposition of a successful insurer, however, in recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on the requirement of insurers to put the customer at the heart of their business, and for brokers to assist them with achieving this ambition.
For Paul Driver, who was recently appointed head of Allied World’s bespoke division, his experience overseeing a range of classes of business including PI, E&O, auto & property and A&H has given him a broad overview of the core requirements of customer centricity and tailored insurance solutions.
Speaking with Insurance Business, Driver outlined the key focuses of the growth strategy within this division, and identified the role of brokers in encouraging continuous product development.
The division will continue to operate on Allied World’s Syndicate 2232 platform, he said, with a particular focus on affinity & enhancement programmes, ancillary & commercial auto, and financial institutions & collateral protection.
“We will maintain our strategy as a lead market for existing and new business, working with brokers to meet the insurance needs of their clients,” he said. “Our strategy combines a decisive technical underwriting discipline approach coupled with our commitment to a highly responsive service for our brokers.”
Looking to the oncoming year, Driver identified how the regulatory environment is making growth in this division more challenging, and also how the environment serves as an opportunity for craft underwriters with a clear risk appetite to be in a superior position to withstand market changes and provide insureds with the protection they need.
“The relationship between carriers, brokers and clients will continue to be central to the success of the market,” Driver said. “This tripartite relationship will undoubtedly evolve, as each party has to address multiple challenges.”
Reciprocal relationships will benefit all parties, he outlined and said that, above all, brokers and clients need to know that their insurance partners will be there for them in the long run.
“This will be key to keeping this unique three-way relationship strong in these uncertain and ever-changing times,” Driver said.
Looking to the bespoke sector, Driver believes that the demand for tailored insurance solutions has increased in recent years and that more tailoring is needed to continue to offer clients comprehensive insurance coverage and meet their ever-changing needs.
“Clients’ needs are becoming ever more nuanced and each client is different,” he said, “a personalised approach is needed as ‘one size doesn’t fit all’.”
Driver believes that brokers and clients are inundated with options to provide ‘standard’ insurance, and although such cover is necessary, insurance products should be employed to help the business-as-usual operations of a company as well as protect the organisation itself. Clients do not just require tailored ideas that will help offer the standard insurance coverage they need, Driver highlighted, but also innovative ways to utilise insurance for their benefit.
For Driver and his team, addressing the developing requirements of clients’ needs has meant crafting coverage for the unique exposures of their clients and working together on every policy they issue to make sure there are no gaps or costly overlaps.
The underlying concept of bespoke products, he said, is to look at insurance from a different perspective. This means investigating what a client does, analysing the products they design or the services they provide, and then devising insurance products to complement the client’s proposition.
Driver believes that working with brokers is essential when it comes to developing bespoke solutions, as the broker is best placed in terms of proximity and knowledge of the client’s risk and also of selling that risk to the insurer, so they have all the relevant information to offer the best possible coverage and value.
“Our underwriters actively engage with our insurance brokers to encourage and ensure continuous dialogue towards product design and development,” he said.
Synergy of purpose is essential for the broker/insurer partnership model to work and both parties must want to ensure there is seamless coverage in place to offer peace of mind to clients. The development of a good reciprocal relationship between insurers and brokers will provide long-term gain to the client, he said and, in his experience, communication and transparency are also required for a strong broker/insurer partnership to flourish.
Insurers and brokers must have a shared understanding of the need to work together to satisfy the needs of each stakeholder, Driver said, while recognising that, in some instances, flexibility is required to achieve this.