The London re/insurance market takes huge pride in developing business through face-to-face interactions. Indeed, it’s what gives the market its distinctive character and power. So, when lockdown was announced, our industry’s USP was almost completely erased.
Insurance brokers are invaluable intermediaries who help a business arrange specialist insurance programmes. As a placing reinsurance broker I help insurance companies all around the world get access to specialist reinsurance products from Lloyd’s and the London reinsurance market. Before the pandemic, I could walk into Lloyd’s with a finely-tuned presentation and rely on the strength of my existing relationships with underwriters, confident that most risks could be discussed in person and a solution found.
It’s no secret that actuaries provide underwriters with a base rate premium against which quotations can be benchmarked. So why the need for brokers? All re/insurance business involves risk, and with risk comes the need for trust and clarity. While underwriting models are strong and well developed, they may fall short in some areas because of the economic climate, financial stability and other variables. Brokers can cut through any issues or grey areas and ensure that the needs of both the underwriters and the clients are met. And here’s the rub: the best way to do this is for brokers to sit directly with the person making the decision and negotiate the details.
What happens now our face-to-face role has gone? Personally, I used to curse the queuing system in Lloyd’s, but now I’m chasing endorsements to be signed over a three-week period when previously they would have been completed in just hours in the Lloyd’s building. In fairness, much of this is due to teething problems following the sudden need to work from home, and we’ve been learning to adjust; however, work is certainly slower outside of the London environment. In this respect the virtual world is not as efficient as the real one.
Oddly, virtual conferencing (which is now the norm) has allowed/encouraged us to engage at a more personal level with our overseas markets. So, while we’re feeling the loss of our Lloyd’s workplace, we’re developing new face-to-face relationships in different parts of the business – which is good for us and good for our clients.
About Elmore Insurance Brokers
Elmore advises its clients to actively manage risk to optimise insurance. Insurance is a partnership between businesses and insurers, and this partnership depends on a very close working relationship and careful analysis of risks. Elmore provides this focus and expertise, helping businesses to understand and implement risk management best practice.