Five things to consider when choosing where to place your schemes business

11 May 2022

Partnerships between insurers and brokers built on mutual passion, expertise and the same values remain the key to the successful growth and development of any scheme.

In our recent broker survey, 15% of brokers are actively considering transferring scheme business to another insurer*. But what gets a broker to that point? Is the need for better service and claims handling or is it growth support and access to decision makers? When a broker decides to make to change provider, what considerations should they look for in an insurance partner? More importantly, what should a prospective insurer partner be demonstrating in return?

Here are my top 5 considerations when you start to look for a potential new insurance partner for your scheme.

1. Evidence of schemes expertise

Not every insurer works with the schemes space. Schemes has a unique place in the typical insurance distribution model. They are not for everyone. When looking for a partner it is essential you look to team up with a provider that understands the schemes space. What track record do they have in schemes? Can they demonstrate flexibility and collaboration? Are they focused on developing strong relationships and providing proactive decision making?

2. Access to key decision makers

The pandemic has exposed the need for access and communication between brokers and their insurance partner to support schemes customers. The frustration of not able to speak to a human being let alone an individual with decision making abilities was a regular topic of conversation on my broker panel calls. So when looking for an insurance partner you should ask - what service standards do they have? Are there defined go to points for all of your customer’s needs such as claims and risk management? Does the insurer help and support you through fair value and product governance challenges?

3. Enthusiasm and passion

Look for a provider that shows the same passion and enthusiasm you have for your customers. A like-minded approach can help break down barriers. Like-minded people will always work together for the most important person in the equation: The customer.

What can the provider show you in terms of awards for outstanding service? Do they have a reputation for industry qualified and motivated staff?  What examples can they show where they have added real value to a scheme? What support has been provided to help a broker grow their scheme?

4. Financial strength

This remains a fundamental for brokers. The peace of mind brought by working with a robust and strong provider is priceless. Ensure you have the latest AM Best and S&P rating highlighting strong and excellent ratings. Eliminate any concerns you may have as to the short term outlook many insurers still hold. Look to partner with long term strategic plans, a solid growth agenda and a track record in real investment in its people, broker partners, customers and society at large.

5. A clear focus

As a pioneer insurer of schemes, we’ve learnt a huge amount about what makes a scheme partnership a successful one. We are learning and adapting all the time in a market that is rapidly changing in terms of buying habits and technological advancements. It’s essential therefore that you look for an insurer that is in it for the long term. 

Ecclesiastical has achieved 20% growth in our Schemes DA unit in 2022 and 34% is the targeted growth in 2023. This is a great reflection of what we’ve achieved and reinforces our ambition to double the size of our business and for our owner Benefact Group to have donated £250m to charitable causes by 2026.

As always there is never one clear fundamental reason for change. I feel strongly that these 5 considerations are key to deciding which insurer to partner with. After all it’s all about making the best decision for your customers.

* Scheme’s Study March 2022 with 171 brokers.

Meet Simon McGill

A photo of Simon McGillSimon McGill - UK Schemes Development Manager

Simon is responsible for leading Ecclesiastical Schemes DA and MGA development and helping brokers to find solutions in the Schemes space across the United Kingdom. He is the focal point for all new enquiries, working with the team of Strategic Account Managers and New Business Underwriters within Ecclesiastical.

Prior to joining the Schemes team, Simon worked as an open market Account Manager in the Northern Region for Ecclesiastical and had enjoyed a 30 year career within corporate broking and insurance recruitment.

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