MD on 'phase two' of Brokerbility’s rejuvenated strategy

Leader on maintaining a core values-led approach

MD on 'phase two' of Brokerbility’s rejuvenated strategy

Insurance News

By Mia Wallace

When Brokerbility was founded in 2006, its early members were united by a collective conviction – that by acting together, high-quality, independent brokers could be greater than the sum of their parts. It’s a belief that has never wavered, according to John Dunn (pictured), who has seen the group’s proposition first-hand in his capacity as MD of Luker Rowe (now Clear), and who stepped up as MD of Brokerbility last November.

He noted that when the founding members of Brokerbility came together, they felt that they were losing out in terms of influence to the corporate broking giants. However, they also recognised where they could add significant value to the market, primarily through their alignment around the core values of delivering the right solutions to customers and investing in their people and professionalism.

“As a result, Brokerbility was very successful,” he said. “But where we got to four or five years ago, was a point where the sort of broker who was very attractive as a Brokerbility member, was also exactly the sort of business that consolidators wanted to acquire. And that has meant that a number of members have been acquired by consolidators and other businesses.

“When I became MD, there was the need to look at refreshing the proposition and understanding what would keep us delivering for our members, engaging with our partners and adding to the market - during the next phase of Brokerbility. So, I spoke to all our existing members, and I asked them why they became part of Brokerbility. And what really stood out was that core values-led approach. It was about being part of a community, not a network, of like-minded individuals who acted in the best interests of customers, and who focused on the development of their people.”

What Brokerbility’s members need from their membership

From those conversations, it was clear that the initial premise of Brokerbility still held true today, Dunn said, and would remain an integral foundation of any future growth. It was also clear that the group needed to appeal to a broader cross-section of brokers, and there was a pressing need to ensure the creation of a pathway to support the next generation of entrepreneurs coming into the insurance broking sector.

Essentially, the last 12 months have been about future-proofing the Brokerbility model by refreshing its proposition without losing any of the ingredients that have been integral to its success to date. It was with this in mind that the group launched a five-band framework in line with its ambition to grow its community of brokers and to bring clarity to its members, insurer partners – and the wider market - around Brokerbility’s structure.

Another point of pride for Dunn is the evolution of Brokerbility’s academy which has now delivered over 1,700 hours of training year to date, equating to more than 485 individual sessions. Brokerbility’s academy is a scaleable proposition, he said, and its programme is designed around a survey that goes out to all its members asking what they want to be included in the programme for the coming year.

“It covers everything from training on technical subjects, to sales training, to leadership training,” he said. “One of our recent highlights is that we've just agreed to deal with Zing365 to deliver a Brokerbility-branded learning management system to our members. We launched that at our recent conference and it has been very well received.”

Between its partnership with Broker Insights, the addition of A One and Gauntlet as members, and the strengthening of its membership structure, 2023 has been a busy year for the business. It has been great to see the feedback stemming from these changes, Dunn said, particularly the reception to Brokerbility’s renewed branding which was recently unveiled to members during its annual conference.

Phase two of Brokerbility’s refresh

“In some ways, the conference marked the end of phase one of the Brokerbility refresh,” he said. “And our new branding and updated website are a lot fresher, a lot more modern and reflect how we want to be positioning ourselves for our members going forward. One of the areas we’re looking at right now is how we can use technology to support members, which is why we entered into our partnership with Broker Insights in June.”

Brokerbility is using its strategic partnership with Broker Insights to enable its members to take a helicopter view of their books of business and their agency base, and to make proactive decisions based on those insights. This will allow members to identify opportunities for consolidation across their agency base, he said, and to create more efficiency, which has long been identified by Brokerbility’s members as a key area where they’re looking for support.

Dunn’s vision for Brokerbility’s future

Dunn’s vision for Brokerbility and where it stands in the insurance market is underpinned by four pillars – engagement across the membership base, and also with the central Brokerbility team; thought leadership; entrepreneurship; and networking with its insurer partners. During the group’s recent national directors conference, he was able to look back on the progress made towards strengthening each of these pillars, he said, and it was great to see how positive the mood on the ground is across Brokerbility, as summarised by one member’s comment that, “the connection across the membership is the best it has ever been.”

Phase one has been all about refreshing the Brokerbility proposition and taking on members’ feedback to ensure this proposition aligned with what they need and want from their membership. Huge progress has been made on that front, Dunn said, and now he’s looking to phase two which is about opening up the Brokerbility community to new opportunities.

“Engaging with the insurtech community is one area of focus, and I also want us to put more effort into the startup area as well, to put ourselves forward as a partner to help people start their entrepreneurial journey in broking,” he said. “Also on the agenda is continuing our focus on ‘mindful placement’. We don’t tell our members where to place business, rather we look to form connections with markets that can help meet the needs of our members’ customers, and also also add value to our members.

“We form the initial relationship and position our members and insurer partners to do the business together themselves. But there’s a huge number of new propositions out there from various different markets. That includes direct insurance propositions but also things like add-on products or services that can support the claims end. So, a big focus for the team and myself in 2023 is taking more time to understand what those new and innovative offerings are, and engaging with that sector to understand how we can work with them to add further value to our members.”

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