Brisbane-based underwriting agency ShieldCover has widened the company’s portfolio to offer liability coverage within the competition-scarce motor trades space.
Speaking with Insurance Business, ShieldCover underwriting manager Suzie O’Hagan (pictured) pointed to a need in the market where currently there are possibly less than five providing insurance to the specialist area of motor trades businesses – the likes of auto dismantlers, boat dealerships, car/auto detailers, mechanics, and panel beaters.
Able to offer market capacity and seeing the opportunity, ShieldCover decided to expand its blue collar speciality to include motor trades, and the response from brokers, according to O’Hagan, has been great.
“It’s been really positive,” noted the underwriting manager. “We sent out like a marketing email to our database on Thursday (February 25) about the launch, and we just did some organic LinkedIn posts on it. And the phone didn’t stop ringing on Thursday.
“The best response you can get is a quote submission. We did get a few emails of, ‘This is great’, and a lot of phone calls saying it’s great to have another market and just querying our appetite. And then the best response has been how many quote submissions we’ve received.”
While O’Hagan did not disclose the approximate figure, she said ShieldCover received at least three times the amount of quote submissions that the underwriting agency usually gets on a normal day.
So how does this play out in the hard insurance market?
For the ShieldCover executive, “having another market there to offer capacity to brokers is only going to be a positive, whether or not it’s for someone who hasn’t dealt with us before, or the brokers that have enjoyed working with us in the past and can now continue to do that with other clients of theirs.”
In O’Hagan’s view, in such a specialised and bespoke class, it’s always going to be a benefit to the broker to have another player to level out the competition. And to be able to add in a new class like this, she said, at a time where there’s limited capacity is only going to be a positive for ShieldCover as well.
“When the pandemic first hit last year, we really focussed on servicing our existing clients and making sure that they weathered the storm,” recalled O’Hagan. “We’ve put our focus on that rather than trying to write new business.
“So I think that that put us in a really great position because it meant, when the industry started to bounce back once the initial lockdowns were over, that the brokers had the trust in us that we were there during the hard time offering solutions for their clients.”
In fact, the underwriting agency, which specialises in liability and accident & sickness, has seen “more and more” engagement with its brokers than ever. Moving forward, the aim is to make good on ShieldCover’s promise.
O’Hagan told Insurance Business: “The priority for motor trades, from a market point of view, is to make sure that we deliver on what we’ve said we can deliver – so that’s offering quick quote turnarounds to our brokers, competitive policy coverage, and trying to keep the premium and deductibles as competitive as possible.”