Agency competition heats up

New entrants and brokers’ wavering loyalties are far and away the chief challenges faced by underwriting agencies, according to a comprehensive new survey of the industry.

Gratex International’s second annual survey of underwriting agency CEOs in Australia and New Zealand has found brokers are demanding ever-greater speed and agility from underwriters.

LMI Group helped run the survey and Managing Director Professor Allan Manning says the results show brokers still see room for improvement from agencies.

“The consistent feedback from the broker community is, that brokers prefer to work with underwriting agencies that can support the need for speed and on-line transparency, whilst still providing exceptional claims service,” he says.

“To compete in this increasingly competitive market, underwriting agencies need the right

mix between competitive products, excellent and fast customer service, as well as self-service functionality.

“Agencies that can provide online services that enhance the claims experience particularly in achieving the right outcome are also of great interest to brokers.”

The survey shows a substantial leap in underwriter concern over broker channel performance and loyalty, which last time less than half of respondents identified as a key challenge. Now, more than 70% do.

Gratex International Managing Director Milan Neklapil says: “Like never before, we have seen new entrants as well as portfolio diversification with specialist products for niche markets, such as bicycles, cyber threats and drones.

“The ability to anticipate future trends and design new, complex products for emerging markets seems to come to the forefront of competitive strategy in order to retain customers and capture new demand to grow business volume.

“It becomes apparent that the most crucial success factor for underwriting agencies is to increase the effectiveness of highly skilled expert staff through systems that automate and speed up business processes in a transparent and scalable way.”

Click here to view the full report.