Insurance brokers must move beyond seeking 'the same old skills'

Chief exec talks about AI, digital upskilling, and bringing new talent

Insurance brokers must move beyond seeking 'the same old skills'


By Terry Gangcuangco

Imagine a broker enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) – one that is supported to focus on providing customers a smoother insurance experience and is able to more easily identify leads and needs. For British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) chief executive Steve White, the benefits are clear.

Addressing delegates on the first day of BIBA 2019 at Manchester Central, UK, White pointed to our now “increasingly digitalised” lives and to why “it’s no longer sufficient to seek the same old skills we have sought for a generation.”

The CEO, who opened his speech by thanking outgoing BIBA chairman Lord Hunt of Wirral, drew special attention to change and how it’s not always something that should be feared. In White’s view, “change provides an opportunity for those who lead and those who do the right thing.”

AI, for instance, is something he believes will continue to be a positive change for the industry, with the technology improving not only the underlying product but services as well.

“We must be the champions of that change,” stated White. “Several politicians have said that the leaders in AI will rule the world. It will be the same in business.”

As for the demand for a new range of skills within the sector, the BIBA boss talked about digital upskilling and bringing new talent. He highlighted the trade body’s Young Brokers programme as well as collaborations with the likes of Google.

“At this year’s conference we will be exploring technology changes that are benefitting brokers and their customers, from chatbots to apps and all points in-between,” noted White.

“The BIBA Hackathon – that is already underway – is looking at issues that members have told us are affecting their businesses, and the teams involved will be using all their creative juices to produce innovative solutions.”

However, the CEO stressed that amid all these changes some things remain the same.

White closed his speech by saying: “And that while you are here you see for yourself that while everything is changing around us, nothing really is. Our priorities remain our people and the customers they serve.

“Our values and standards set us apart. Our job is to ensure that no matter how loud the noise around us is, we don’t forget that. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep leading the way.”

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