Editorial: Takeaways from BIBA 2023

Thoughts on an eye-opening conference

Editorial: Takeaways from BIBA 2023


By Mia Wallace

‘Rising to the Challenge’ – as the fervour and energy generated by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)’s 2023 conference begin to simmer down, its theme remains front of mind for the insurance profession. As the second post-COVID conference, expectations across the market ran high and with record-breaking attendance, it seems these were both seen and raised.

‘Energising’ and ‘dynamic’ were the twin buzzwords of BIBA 2023 which saw Manchester Central spring to life as new deals, partnerships and relationships marked the two-day conference’s well-earned reputation as the “highlight of the insurance calendar”.

Marking my second consecutive BIBA, I felt I knew roughly what to expect and yet came away with the same impression that has shaped my insurance journey to date– that (to paraphrase Tolkien), you can learn all that there is to know about the ways of insurance professionals in a month, and yet after any number of years, they can still surprise you.

It’s a well-worn adage that insurance is a people business but it’s thrown into sharp relief by the realisation that the news a high-profile retirement can stir more sentiment and reaction than any major M&A transaction. The news that Steve White will be stepping down as chief executive of BIBA later this year resonated across those assembled, not least because he has served as BIBA’s longest-running leader to date and invoked so much positive change across the association.

It took very little time for the rumour mill about Steve White’s successor to get churning though from where I stand, you don’t need to be much of a betting man to have a frontrunner in this race…

Among the other standout moments from the conference, it was wonderful to see the power of networking take its rightful place in the insurance sun. As so aptly captured by Ajay Mistry in his recent column on why networking matters, the lay of the current insurance landscape makes a necessity of collaboration. Collaboration was in full view at the 2023 BIBA conference which served as a timely reminder of the need for touchpoints in the insurance calendar which pave the way for the wider market to come together.

Those concerned about the future of insurance broking likely had their spirits bolstered as addresses from top insurers, MGAs and software providers alike stated and restated the power of brokers and the unique support they provide to their customers and partners alike. The value placed on expertise still commands a high premium, particularly given the tumult of the last three years and the uncertain economic and political landscape that faces businesses operating in today’s environment.

Sessions including ‘Insurance broking – What does good look like?’ and ‘Broking challenges in difficult economic times’ offered a deep-dive perspective into the central challenges facing brokers today – and more crucially, insight into how brokers can equip themselves to tackle these concerns. An emphasis on the role of great talent in enhancing the sustainability of the profession was a common theme of BIBA 2023 with discussions on ‘Helping new recruits become brilliant brokers’ and ‘Recruitment’ getting to the heart of the talent crisis gripping the insurance market.

There were plenty of reasons to feel positive about the young insurance professionals making up the talent pipeline – a sentiment bolstered by the announcement that the Oliver Rose BIBA Young Broker Award was conferred to Capsule Insurance Services chief operating officer Liam Green. Green and his fellow nominees Niki Facey (from Marsh Commercial) and Heather Cave (from Marsh Ltd) epitomise the potential of the insurance profession to attract the right kind of talent and, in doing so, future-proof this market for the years to come.

What were your thoughts on BIBA 2023? Feel free to share them in the comment box below.

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