Traditional brokers should not feel threatened with insurers dropping the intermediary channel and adopting the direct-to-consumer model, an insurance leader has said.
Carol Geldard, personal lines director at Covéa Insurance, disagrees with some views that brokers are doomed
because insurers are going direct.
“Far from it,” she tells Insurance Business. “Our core broker business isn’t shrinking - on the contrary it’s growing.”
Geldard led the development and launch of Covéa’s direct motor proposition in February 2016, when she was still the retail distribution director. More than a year on, Geldard believes that the company’s relationship with brokers has not weakened.
“Our relationships with our brokers have never been stronger; I believe brokers have every good reason to feel confident about the future,” says Geldard, who has been shortlisted for the Insurance Leader of the Year title at the 2017 Women in Finance Awards.
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According to her, Covéa’s broker partners manage to stay relevant by focusing on adding value for their customers, creating cost efficiencies and generating good quality business.
Some of these brokers take advantage of the digital revolution, Geldard says, while others have focused on specialist and niche product lines or have diversified into areas such as commercial lines.
“Aggregators and direct models are nothing new,” she says. “The broker partners we work with continue to successfully adapt and evolve their business models and are clear on how they add value, both for their customers and for their insurer partners.”
Geldard says it is “still relatively early days” for the further expansion of its direct insurance offering. But whatever the plans, the company’s broker partners need not worry, Geldard assures.
“We’ve always talked openly with our brokers about our intention to go direct and how it actually adds to what we can offer them, as opposed to it being either a threat or ‘taking away’; and the reaction we’ve had has been very positive,” she says.
Maintaining open communication for “genuine, collaborative” partnerships is also the key for brokers and insurers as they face market challenges in general.
“We talk very openly with our brokers about the challenges we see arising from market change, and are always very candid about what we’re doing in response,” Geldard says. “Likewise, we always take time to find out about the challenges our brokers are facing, as often they can be very different to our own, and what we can do to help.”
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