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Insurance brokers: Why it’s time to take the specialist route

Insurance brokers: Why it’s time to take the specialist route | Insurance Business

Insurance brokers: Why it’s time to take the specialist route
Brendan McCafferty, CEO, AXA Insurance, Intermediated & Direct, joins Insurance Business with a new monthly column. Read his views below.

There is no escaping the fact that products are more special when they are made just for you. The tailored clothing you bought for a special occasion, the engraved pens you got for Christmas and the football shirt with your name across the shoulders have that warm feeling that comes with the truly bespoke.

Our customers, whether businesses or everyday people, want the same thing from their insurance providers. We aim to offer peace of mind but there is no denying that, as an industry, we could make policyholders feel even more at ease if we knew more about them.

One of the best routes to creating a more personalised product is to specialise. If we better understand our customers, and those we hope will buy from us in the future, we need to learn more about what makes them tick and gain an insight into how we can protect them.

Embracing specialisms is important for brokers and insurers alike. With an increasing number of customers opting to go direct, both in personal lines and the smaller end of commercial business, there is a growing opportunity to take the road less travelled.

There are many untapped opportunities that brokers can take advantage of. The customers who struggle with ‘off the peg’ policies because they are from a segment that is not properly catered for, and businesses that operate in industries that present risks that are far more difficult to predict, are just a couple of examples.

Insurers, meanwhile, can learn from some of the larger brokers in the market if they think more about their structure. If insurers organised themselves more around their target policyholders, and less around strict product types, both our broker partners and customers will benefit.

However, and perhaps most important, is that the industry considers its mindset. We need to spend less time thinking about what products we offer and how we work, and more time considering the issues our customers face and the specific needs they have.

There is also a role for technology to play here too. As an industry, we need to keep an eye on the latest tools that can help us achieve our goals. There is no reason we can’t make better use of data and data analytics to improve customer insight, as well as using artificial intelligence to pick up some of our administrative slack, allowing us to spend more time learning from our customers.

At AXA, we have dipped our toes in the water in this area and we want to collaborate with our brokers to help them stay ahead of the curve. By working closely with new market entrants, such as insurtech firms, we can transform the way we look at our businesses.

However, becoming more specialised is very much the tip of the iceberg. By identifying areas where risks have not been well understood we can start to build better, more meaningful and personal products, which should be the ultimate aim.

Hopefully, one day we will be able create products that feel as bespoke as personalised stationary, as comfortable as a tailored suit and as individual as your favourite sports jersey with your name on the back.

 

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