Insurers the world over have been singing their own praises when it comes to how they’ve supposedly maintained the same level of service despite the challenges brought on by the double whammy of COVID-19 and the hard insurance market. Brokers, however, are setting the record straight.
“Things are taking a lot longer to get done,” said an Insurance Business source, verbalising what fellow brokers have also alluded to. “We’ve got insurers that just aren’t picking up the phone. We’ve got emails that are going unresponded to. It’s a lot harder. We’re obviously reliant on insurers turning things around, and we just aren’t seeing the same level of service.”
While not everyone is performing poorly, it is suggested that there are those whose dip in service levels has been significant and worthy of note.
The source, from New South Wales, stressed: “That’s not to say all are like that, but there’s a handful that are just notorious. Historically they’ve been good, but they’re terrible now.”
“I think they are probably dealing with receiving so many new business submissions because those other insurers have put forward terms that might be unpalatable to the client,” said the broking boss. “So, the brokers have got to contact more insurers to get alternative quotes from, and the insurers are just being inundated.
“I get it. But it’s not hard to pick up the phone and say, ‘Look, we’re too busy. We’re closing the door on new business. Thanks, but no thanks’.”
An executive from a Brisbane-based firm previously told Insurance Business about how the pandemic-induced changes in the way organisations operate have also had an impact on insurer-broker interactions.
“They all went working from home,” noted the Queensland broker, “and we didn’t see any insurers for many, many months, which made it even more difficult to negotiate terms.
“Their turnaround times were really pretty poor, as they were sort of adjusting to their new normal and their systems working remotely. So, it had those added complexities with trying to get terms and build those relationships with the insurers.”
Meanwhile, the NSW source went so far as to describe the market as “deteriorating,” what with clients paying higher premiums for less coverage. “Just sign of the times, I’m afraid,” he conceded.
The broker explained, though: “It’s all dependent on where you’re starting from. Some accounts were priced and negotiated in really, really soft market conditions. If you’re starting at a really low base point as far as the cost and a really generous coverage, then when the insurer has to go and correct it and correct it quickly, those changes are quite dramatic.”