“We fundamentally believe that the personal lines market presents opportunities for brokers.”
Speaking with IB TV Adam Beckett, chief distribution officer at Ageas UK, emphasised that the personal lines market does still present real opportunities to brokers. Ageas UK’s strategy is absolutely focused on personal lines, he said, and it’s focused on the broker channel.
Working with intermediary partners
“We write about 80% of our business through our intermediary partners,” he said. “So we’ve backed both the broker channel and the personal line segment for the future of our organisation. We wholeheartedly believe in that opportunity.”
Exploring how brokers can get ahead of direct-to-consumer offerings and the competitive advantage they should highlight when doing so, Beckett noted that there is always a place for the quality of the advice and service that’s provided by a broker. If you look at that in some of the specialist segments, he said, you might have a particular type of home with a listed building or classic cars – there’s always a space for those more specialist risks to be serviced by brokers and their expert advice.
“I think the other thing is embracing, as the vast majority of them are, the use of data,” he said. “[Understanding] the power of data in terms of better understanding the customers, the distribution opportunities, and how data can change the nature of the products and services they put forward is a really, really powerful tool for brokers. And we’re seeing them embrace that right across the market.”
Where does the personal lines market go next?
In terms of where the personal lines sector goes next, Beckett highlighted the shifts that are sweeping the market post the fair pricing regulatory changes. After the normalisation effect of that, he said, he expects to still see trading pressure. The number of consumers searching for insurance is lower than it was this time last year – and so there will be a challenge in terms of the amount of opportunity in the market.
He added: “That means the distinctive nature of the product and service that a broker delivers is more important than ever.”