Building trust and loyalty in the Scottish insurance broker market and beyond

Gerard Hamilton discusses the importance of building trust and relationships in the broker market

“In my ten years in Account Management and Development, I’ve heard a variety of people observe that there’s ‘something different’ about the Scottish Insurance Market, a unique phenomenon that occurs only North of the Wall. I confess to not being able to define what ‘it’ actually is in succinct form, but for me it’s something to do with how Insurers and Intermediaries have interacted with each over of years and years of trading. Trust and loyalty are hard earned and easily lost in our industry and that’s not just unique to Scotland.

The abundance of capacity in our market forces insurers and brokers alike to make distribution choices. For the insurer it’s critical to ensure that they can deliver an acceptable level of service to satisfy the demand from their distributors/distribution network, or they risk jeopardising trust and loyalty that they have worked so hard to build up over time.

I’m lucky enough in my role to meet with a variety of people in the market and without doubt the most controversial subject that comes up on a regular basis is service standards. Missed deadlines, delayed documents, enquiries going unacknowledged… these are basic issues but constant frustrations that are frequently voiced by brokers and never seem to go away. 

For Covéa Insurance across all our regions, our number one priority in 2017 has been to concentrate our efforts on continue to deliver exceptional service to our brokers.

We recognised this as a constant operational challenge and that’s why we recruit experienced and talented traders who are equally enthused at being part of a team where service is at the core of its proposition. We also know that if we want to continue to build trust and loyalty in the markets in which we operate, we have to invest in our talent and presence.  Our team are now working within our exclusive distribution framework to help support our brokers’ growth ambitions in line with our own. Supported by an excellent suite of products and an award-winning claims proposition, we are now able to grow both our own business, and that of our broker partners, by consistently delivering excellent service.

We believe that our traders should work in an environment that encourages face-to-face interactions with our brokers on a regular basis, same day enquiry acknowledgement, immediate mid-term adjustment turnaround and, early engagement on renewal. These are not aspirational goals. These are the fundamental service commitments that we have made to our brokers that underpin how we operate in our regions

The interests of the end client are quite rightly placed front and centre throughout the course of any product and placement discussion. Although there may be innumerable variables that can directly influence the placement of business, no single entity in the chain has unanimous control over this and ultimately, the customer will buy based on the service and advice of their broker. Our commitment is to ensure that the broker is always aware of our position in respect of their customer’s needs. So no missed deadlines, no delayed documents, and no enquiries going unacknowledged - quality people providing quality products, always backed up with that service ethos, that’s our commitment to our brokers and customers alike, no matter where in the country they are.” 

 

 

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Notes to Editors:

About Covéa Insurance

Covea Insurance Plc is the UK underwriting business of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, who are number 1 for property and liability insurance in France and served 11.5 million policyholders, generating over 16.4 billion Euros in premiums in 2016.  

Covéa Insurance handles the insurance needs of over 1.3 million policyholders; delivering financial reassurance through its Standard & Poor’s A+ stable rating, as a guaranteed subsidiary of Covéa. 

The company offers motor, household, protection, mid and high net worth insurance and a range of commercial insurance products, designed to meet the needs of most individuals and businesses. Employing over 1500 people, Covéa Insurance has a strong people and service ethos, having Investors In People Gold accreditation and featuring in the 2015 and 2016 Sunday Times Top 100 Mid-sized Best Companies to Work For. It also has World Class service accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service for its Motor Claims, Home Claims and Underwriting Services teams as well as Chartered Insurer status for its Commercial and Mid/High Net Worth business.

In January 2016, Sterling Insurance Company Limited became a fully integrated part of Covea Insurance Plc, following a Part VII transfer under the Financial Services and Markets Act. Sterling Insurance was voted No. 1 in the Commercial and Personal Lines 2015 Insurance Times Broker Service Survey and Covéa Insurance was awarded the Personal Lines Insurer of the Year Award at the 2016 British Insurance Awards.

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