Supporting you to overcome challenges

The insurance market never stands still and there are constant challenges that you face. Nick Burrows leads the distribution propositions team here at Aviva - a team are dedicated to developing and delivering solutions to overcome today's challenges. In this interview, he covers how our propositions team support you and your business...

Insurance broking is challenging

As a business, brokers support their clients in understanding the complexities of their businesses whilst making sure they have the right level of cover for their needs. They also manage insurer and trading relationships. As well as this, they must deal with the common challenges many other businesses face, regardless of sector or industry, such as attracting and retaining high calibre staff, delivering sustainable profitable growth, developing a value proposition that sets them apart from their competition, access funding for growth ambitions or human resource expertise and so on. 

Broking also has some unique challenges. Recently, to name but a few, we’ve seen them having to:

  • Understand and comply with an ever-increasing regulatory environment;
  • Deal with continuously evolving customer demand;
  • And work in an environment with an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions. 

At Aviva, we’re continually seeking ways where we can provide brokers with the support they need. Particularly where access to that support may be cost prohibitive.

There are certain types of support that most brokers are going to need to access on a regular basis, like compliance & regulation training. Then, there are those areas of support that are more selectively used, for example commercial finance, soft skills development, marketing and business consultancy.   

Whatever the need, we’re clear in our stance – we’re a champion of the broker. And, to champion them, we need to be able to help and support them with the elements of their role that might be difficult or challenging. However, it’s important to make sure we’re always getting the basics right too; responding quickly when they contact us, being there when they and their clients need us by providing a breadth of trading options, underwriting expertise and dealing with claims fairly and quickly.

It’s evolving over time

No business or industry is ever standing still, and the challenges brokers face have evolved over the years.

For example, I touched on compliance earlier as it can be difficult to stay on top of what’s expected (and it’s dangerous if you’re not). The Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) is clearly a key priority for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to improve governance and culture, so its important brokers are aware of what they need to do to be prepared for the new regime.

To make sure the support we offer is always relevant, we work with external specialists, like RWA, to continually monitor and review the services we’re offering. 

Succession planning is an area that brokers are increasingly turning to us for support. In the past, support from insurers was quite one dimensional. Now, I think there are many ways that we can lend a helping hand. From helping you to access funding for acquisitions to finding the right partner, supporting management buy-outs (MBO) or confidential advice and consultancy. 

Retaining top talent 

We know that phenomenal talent exists in the broker market, but these individuals require support to overcome their existing skill and knowledge gaps to fully realise their potential. To help with this, we launched the Future Leader Programme (FLP) two years ago. 

Our FLP was developed to increase the business acumen of those candidates who show huge potential and are willing to learn the wider range of practical skills, whilst gaining the necessary knowledge and experience needed to run a successful business. 

According to our research, 74% of brokers believe they have a succession plan in place*. But often, the ‘plan’ is assuming that an MBO is on the cards, sometimes without investing in the right people to ensure future business success. Our FLP helps brokers retain their best and brightest talent and supports the futureproofing of the business. 

Anthony Adler, MD of Adler Insurance had identified such an individual in his business.

“I had identified a high-potential leadership candidate within our business. Their ability and expertise made them a key part of the senior management team, but when looking beyond the current performance, I saw a desire and aptitude to grow, develop others, build our team and influence all levels of our organisation. They have the potential to step up into a Director role in the future, but they need the right tools to help them get there. I believe the Aviva Future Leadership Programme will play an important role in their journey; helping to plug the gaps in knowledge and experience, and for me to succeed with my plans.”

We’ve also found that it’s not only a chance for the delegates to learn new things and develop their skills, it’s created an ongoing support network. They’ll always have a community of like-minded professionals within the industry to share their experiences and turn to for advice and guidance. 

Plus, we’re not only addressing leadership skills, we’re tackling the stresses and strains of being a business owner. Dealing with fundamentals such as isolation, wellbeing of staff and finance, amongst other things, the stuff that leaders tell us keeps them awake at night.

What sets Aviva’s support offering apart?

I think it’s important that brokers understand they can look to their insurer partners and seek help. From Aviva’s perspective it’s sticking to what we’re good at (the insurance fundamentals). 

That said, from a training perspective, we have excellent in-house experts who deliver first-class broker learning and development programmes. 

In addition to this, we engage the relevant external market leading experts who can guide brokers to the right outcome. 

We’re also fortunate to be in a position where we can call on individuals who have taken a step back from running successful brokerages of their own who are willing to make themselves available to make sure what we’re doing is relevant and fit for purpose.

The market will continue to evolve as will the challenges that result. Brokers can feel confident that Aviva will continue to evolve the support that we provide to ensure they are well equipped to deal with whatever comes their way.   

Supporting you and your clients

Everything we do is built with brokers in mind and we’re always focussed on supporting brokers and their clients and helping their businesses to thrive.

For more information on the wide-ranging support that Aviva can you and your business, speak to your Aviva Sales Manager.

 *Data collected by Insurance Times on behalf of Aviva in June 2019. The ‘Succession Survey’ gathered insight from Insurance Brokers on their future. The purpose was to understand if brokers had a plan in the place, what their ambitions are when looking to leave/exit the business, what support they would expect from their insurer partners when the time comes and what their staff would like them to prioritise. 

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