Ben Bessell: Staying broker-focused

“At the end of the day we can kid ourselves and say we’re improving, but whether we’re improving or not will be determined by our partners” Ben Bessell, chief executive, IAG Commercial Insurance

Ben Bessell, chief executive of IAG Commercial Insurance, is thrilled CGU has emerged victorious in the Brokers on Insurers Insurer of the Year survey.

“It’s fantastic. We’re very excited to win the award,” he tells Insurance Business. “We’re very proud to be associated with the award, and it’s a great testament to the team and the work they’ve put in not just over the last 12 months, but over the last number of years.”

Bessell describes the broker channel as extremely important to CGU. “The CGU heritage is based on relationships with brokers and intermediaries … We’ve got a long history working with brokers, but I think it’s important that we remember we need to make sure we complement the work that they do for their customers, and provide value and insights using our scale and opportunities that we have.”

He reports that CGU has received a wealth of good feedback about its recent advertising campaign, promoting the value of the right advice. “I think it certainly reached the target audience and I think it’s done a great job in reinforcing that message that we’re committed to supporting brokers and the importance of advice.”

Discussing CGU’s six gold medals across the survey categories, Bessell would like to think the result is a reflection of CGU’s focus in recent years on providing consistent levels of service. He says, “I think consistency is really important. Providing localised service is really important, and having underwriters and sales staff as close to our partners and customers as possible, and … providing our staff with tools … to make quick turnarounds [and] quick decisions.”  

Looking ahead, Bessell and his team will continue working on the integration of the Wesfarmers insurance business into IAG Commercial Insurance. He’s also excited about how CGU can help broker’s benefit from the insurer’s strong focus on risk mitigation. “We think that we have the expertise at our disposal within CGU to provide more tailored risk management advice that would complement the work of a broker, and therefore provide added value to their customers.”

There’s also the development opportunities that CGU offers its partners through its Platinum Leadership Network, looking to arm brokers with skills that can be taken back into their businesses.

Additionally, Bessell mentions the group’s intention to enhance its role in the digital space, which as he explains, involves “Providing a more contemporary environment to transact where that makes sense … I think having a great digital strategy and working with our partners to make sure we identify customers who need that … is really important.”

Bessell stresses the importance to CGU engaging in an ongoing dialogue with its brokers and partners, taking feedback on board and effecting changes where necessary. “At the end of the day we can kid ourselves and say we’re improving, but whether we’re improving or not will be determined by our partners,” he says. “So it’s really important that we continue to seek feedback, such as awards like this, to help reinforce what’s working well, but also use it as an opportunity to make changes where required.”

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