Commercial lines - bounce back ability

Broker confidence is high and many are planning for a new normal year of growth – with some good reason, believes Simon Gardiner, our Head of Sales North…

Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, brokers remain overwhelmingly positive about the future – so much so that around five in six are confident that they’ll grow their business in the next year, according to our recent Insurance Times/CBPF broker survey.

That confidence is justified, according to CBPF Head of Sales, North, Simon Gardiner. “The market will definitely grow,” he says. “Demand will come back as society opens up again – and grow to reflect huge consumer pent-up demand.”

As long as the government’s roadmap out of lockdown remains on course, there are sure to be commercial opportunities. “In certain sectors we’ll see a straightforward bounce back – such as with hospitality and taxi fleets, as work and leisure open up again and customer demand returns,” says Gardiner. “But because of the way Covid has changed how we live, some sectors will offer even more potential than before. 

“For instance, certain transport or logistic sectors will see growth as businesses try to put an extra level of protection in – not against another pandemic, but to boost their capability as they get bigger. So we’re very much expecting growth in key commercial areas, such as haulage, among others, as we emerge from lockdown.”

Bounce back is also an opportunity for brokers to look at themselves and their approach to business. “Brokers should be carrying out a post-Covid review, as most other companies will be doing,” says Gardiner, “looking at how well they have coped and, although it’s been a completely unprecedented situation, what they could have done better.”

How brokers invest in their own resources should be a key consideration. “People are always your number one, most valuable resource,” says Gardiner. “But technology should also be considered. We all had to move to remote working quickly and, for the most part, successfully. Now brokers need to look at the efficiencies – the level of home working, the reduction in travel and an increased expectation from staff about how they should be allowed to work. 

“All of that means brokers should be looking at processes and systems that can continue improving their services, while minimising a reliance on having offices fully open. Employers have learned they need to think beyond normal boundaries so that they can have a business-as-usual model that delivers excellent service to customers but reaps the benefits of flexible working.”

Making the most of resources and improving how things are done is something that CBPF can help with, says Gardiner. “We offer clients key support through complimentary sales training – such as six-module sales process training, and financial awareness training that helps brokers understand customer accounts.”

Meanwhile, according to the survey, most brokers also see demand for premium finance only growing in the coming 12 months. Gardiner is keen to underline its utility as a growth tool. “Premium finance can play a huge role in growing business for brokers,” he says. 

“Helping people to spread the cost of minimising their risk is a great advantage. I can’t wait to get out there again and see clients face-to-face, talking to them about the enormous benefits of premium finance.

“Brokers are always seeking opportunities to grow – because that’s the nature of the industry, it’s what they naturally do. We are here to support them.”