There appears to us at Anthony Jones to be a confusion within the industry about what to talk about. The insurance press, insurers and the general insurance glitterati are very active publicly about things such as (but not exclusively) Environmental Social and Governance (ESG), climate change issues, risk analysis, well-being, civil unrest and terrorism, cyber risk and cover restrictions, D&O troubles, data et al.
Now, there is nothing wrong with talking about each of these serious macro issues and the direct and obvious issues to concern the 7,700 businesses with more than 250 employees or even the 35,900 businesses classed as medium with 50 to 249 employees. These are very evident challenges to these customers and those brokers looking after their interests.
Customers are more Concerned about Micro Issues, such as the Cost of Insurance
But in doing so where is the debate and focus on the micro issues such as the cost and availability of insurance protection to the 5.5million small businesses up to 49 employees that most independent brokers like us deal with day in day out? Our biggest challenge for most of our customers is managing insurance protection as an affordable cost amongst many other rising cost pressures to business.
Our customers want to talk about the cost of insurance first and foremost and last and not least. We cannot be alone as brokers finding it tough to trade now with pressured insurance buyers.
We understand claims inflation and reinsurance rises …of course we do but there is something rotten in the state of insurance where we are seeing insurers punishing customers with “minimal take it or leave it” rate increases for not having claims or having excesses doubled or worse in exchange for rate increase. We are seeing insurers walk away from claims free business if they cannot get rate almost certainly getting a pat on the back for doing so from the number police but forgetting that the cost of acquiring that replacement customer is far more than keeping the one already on the books.
There must be a better way right now. Never have we as brokers had to do so much chasing for very basic insurer service provision. We support BIBA in its role in addressing insurer service perceptions. Supporting holding markets is trickier than it ought to be. Never has so much work been done by brokers in the face of a holding insurer rate need in seeking alternatives for customers only to find that in the face of alternatives a new and improved rate miraculously comes to the table. What an enormous waste of energy we are all expanding at a time when resource is hardly at its most expert or readily available.
Providing Good Customer Service and Affordable Insurance are Key
We have of course been here before, but how about we get back to basics of service standards, stop treating all customers as all the same as peers and have proper talks about the cost of insurance and affordability. We remind all that unless we are able to provide affordable risk transfer, we will run out of customers.