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Insurance Business | 17 Jan 2013, 12:05 AM Agree 0
An insurance industry executive with experience on both sides of the fence offers 10 suggestions to help promote healthier relationships between insurers and brokers. Do you agree with the points made?
  • Dean McCauley | 17 Jan 2013, 12:39 PM Agree 0
    Very sound advice and is very relevant in today’s Australian General Insurance Market. The question is, are insurers listening or even prepared to or are they just going to remain in their ivory towers? I can vouch that Points 1 and 10 are very relevant in respect to our main carrier and Point 2 in respect to our minor carrier. I had a good laugh at Point 8 as well. Does anyone remember those Suncorp adds soon after the Qld floods where they were advertising that their private motor policy covers flood! Well derr, all motor policies cover for flood and have done so for a very long time.
  • Paul Murphy | 17 Jan 2013, 01:01 PM Agree 0
    There are quite a few areas that are common to Australia and the US. Every insurer offers "vanilla" lists of preferred occupations via technology platforms. Surprisingly most favour the same risk appetites. Who'd of thought it?!?! The Australian market is made up of clones who lack imagination, initiative and genuine underwriting skills.( With some notable and honourable exceptions). No wonder so much business goes to Lloyd's both local cover holders and direct into London. At least there you can have a conversation and get intelligent responses and innovative solutions for clients. The rise of technology platforms, the dumbing down of staff who lack genuine skills training and the rise of direct insurers dictating to the their commercial cousins in the same fold, mean things are only likely to get more restrictive. However as ever brokers serving the middle market will find new ways to beat the challenges and outwit "the rise of the machines".
  • Dean McCauley | 17 Jan 2013, 01:45 PM Agree 0
    Well said Paul and I agree. I can only hope that insurers realise that computer systems no matter how good they are can only do so much and nothing will replace the expertise of a traditionally trained and experienced underwriter, of which appear to be a dying breed these days. I remember the days as a former underwriter of not only being able to make sound decisions based on parameters given with reasonable discretion but that it was expected of you. Now if you give them a square peg for a round hole it has to be referred to the State Underwriting Manager or National Product Manager! Serioulsy!! Hopefully, we will see traditional underwriters again before that experience pool has disappeared for ever.
  • Get Informed | 17 Jan 2013, 02:29 PM Agree 0
    Completely agree, gone are the days when BDMs were useful and had some kind of authority, now they're just time wasters and brokers can't wait to get them out the door, let alone making appointments in the first place. Insurers also need to recognise that it's illegal to change a client's insurance policy based on commission, perhaps they should consider fighting with increased policy benefits and differentiating their products as well as their service.
  • Realist | 18 Jan 2013, 12:16 PM Agree 0
    Careful what you wish for..
    Ironically the path of centralisation and BDM sales (vs underwriters) was started by the yanks.
    To Get Informed, that statement maybe fine for whatever city you are in, try looking at it from a regional viewpoint.
    All underwriters these days are based in, as Dean Macauley states, Ivory Towers in the main cities - as far as regional areas are concerned, as long as the message I send gets back to an underwriter in a timely manner and I get the result...the issue is?
    The other thing is - in the old days you would get visited by a property underwriter, a motor underwriter, a rural underwriter, a marine underwriter, a liability underwriter, a domestic underwriter and so on. Whereas the BDM is involved across all channels.
    Most of the time the decision wasn''t made in the office when an underwriter did visit, but quite often the "beer coster mentality" until the account became unprofitable. You want a return to those days, really?
    What takes (or wastes) more time? One BDM or an onslaught?
  • Graham Gulliford | 21 Jan 2013, 11:43 AM Agree 0
    I would love an Insurance Company to ask a brokerage "what do you, as our customer, want?" and once they have the answers set about delivering. If the brokerage then delivers on their promises and the Insurer delivers on theirs, surely we have a very healthy and hopefully profitable business relationship.......
  • Kay Jackson | 25 Jan 2013, 10:56 AM Agree 0
    Well said
  • Both Sides | 17 Feb 2013, 01:00 PM Agree 0
    Having worked on both in broker office and for two underwriters, I must share Dean & Paul's view. The majority of brokers these days call it "the ease of doing business". The means not using a machine or IT platform but essentially the time it takes to turn things around to do business. So it's the whole approach. Unfortunately, there are BDM's and BDM's. As a broker you get to know which ones will enhance the relationship and add value and Insurer's who fail to give their BDM's the autonomy to write the correct business within it's appetite.
    The article is dead-on accurate to a tee.
  • Doom and gloom | 26 Feb 2013, 03:26 PM Agree 0
    Gone are the days of insurance companies being loyal to their brokers and their brokers clients. As a broker, I see my suppliers being my biggest competitor. It's only a matter of time before the middle person is knocked out of the equation.
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