I started off in insurance broking in the summer of ‘89 - 30 years ago, which is pretty scary in itself! Things were very different then - IPT did not exist and nor did the FCA, there was no mention of insurer extranets, cyber insurance or Brexit. How things have changed and how brokers’ concerns have changed is significant. But in true Darwinian style brokers continue to evolve, responding to changing risks with new innovations and products in modern trading environments.
Talking of trade, a trade body is here to help members do just that. And we are really just an extension of our collective members. At BIBA our values include the desire to amplify and represent the voice of insurance brokers and to invest in the resources to support and guide our members.
So why am I telling you this? In September at BIBA we are starting out on our 2019 Tour of the BIBA Regions where I travel across the UK with Steve White and some of the BIBA team and listen to members’ valuable and candid views, discuss the changes we all want and the changes we most certainly don’t.
The process is of course cyclical. We listen hard to the feedback from 600 or so of our members on tour and carefully note the issues they raise. The macro and micro issues that are affecting their business find their way into the next annual BIBA Manifesto or are brought to the attention of our Insurance Brokers Standards Committee. The following year we update on progress and wins for members and their customers.
So much of our work hinges on the feedback we get – new schemes and facilities to create, new technical guides on areas of concern, new issues to discuss with insurers, our contacts in Government and with the regulator. The tour is also very useful in judging the mood around the very latest priorities, like dual pricing, access to markets, Lloyd’s of London decile ten, mental wellbeing, careers in broking, sustainable finance, developments with claims, the shortage of capacity for certain classes of PI, and gender equality in the workplace. The list goes on.
Of course the real joy of the tour is the chance to shoot the breeze with brokers across the country. This has worked really well for the last seven years, ensuring we are fully connected to members’ concerns. Recently it even led to the HM Treasury Insurance team going to meet and discuss Brexit and other issues in Northern Ireland with our members there.
Every insurance intermediary knows that by actively listening to their clients they can demonstrate the value of their work by finding an insurance solution. Brokers are right at the coalface, acting as a national network for insurers. They have a constant dialogue with them about new approaches or new products that will meet the ever-changing demands of businesses and people. For example, we have been discussing with 10 Downing Street the problem of landlords refusing to take on tenants on benefits and citing insurance exclusions as the reason. Our members have helped explode this myth telling us that there’s a healthy market throughout the UK.
The regional tour is a chance for us to process this valuable feedback – how the market is hardening, how to respond to the needs of changing risks created by the sharing economy or the need to find answers for non-damage business interruption losses following a cyberattack or an act of terrorism. Members look to BIBA to develop something innovative to solve these problems.
We are certainly boarding those planes, trains and automobiles with our minds open and our ears tuned into what our members want to tell us to focus on in 2020.
Over the last 30 years it really does seem that everything has changed, but then again everything stays the same. For example, the importance of strong collaborative relationships between brokers and insurers and the fundamental mission of every broker to find the best insurance solutions for their customers. Just in a slightly more efficient way than the carbon paper I was using in 1989.
I hope many of you can join us on the tour which runs through Belfast, Guildford, Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Falkirk, London and Birmingham. Check out the dates at http://bit.ly/BIBATour.