1 Insurance Brkers embrace Business Intelligence t gain cmpetitive advantage. Authr: Máire Ryan McSherry, BA, FCII, LCOI, Chartered Insurance Practitiner Executive Summary Insurance brkers that harness technlgy are mre likely t survive as the business envirnment becmes mre cmpetitive 1 The challenges f the insurance brking cmmunity are well dcumented, nt least by the brking cmmunity itself. The mst cmmn challenge cited in the general insurance brking market is t meet r beat prduct fferings f direct prviders, particularly in the persnal lines market. The authr, with ver twenty years experience in the Irish brking market appreciates the nging challenge t meet the direct prviders head n, but is cncerned at the shrt sightedness f the brking cmmunity in expending t much energy in the Brker vs. Direct debate. 2 r, in the grundhg rute f arguing against the differential rates ffered by sme insurers t their direct arm vs. the brker channel. By maintaining an apparently cmbative attitude t the inevitable develpment f chice f channels fr custmers r in the planned technlgical advances f insurers targeting new channels, brkers are failing nt nly t recgnise ther market challenges but are als ignring ptential pprtunities fr cmpetitive advantage ver ther prviders, direct insurers and brkers alike. A significant challenge t brkers is the increased regulatry scrutiny frm the Central Bank. Retail intermediaries are rated as lw impact n the PRISM classificatins but must adhere t prescribed regulatins and n-line reprting rules. Operatinally, brkers must fllw the rules f the Cnsumer Prtectin Cde The Central Bank in 2013 advised f increased administrative sanctins fr prescribed cntraventins which culd, fr a serius cntraventin see a fine up t 10,000,000 impsed n a crprate bdy r up t 1,000,000 fr a natural persn. Fr mst brkers, a significant fine wuld effectively mean clsure f their business n%20prcedure%20-%202013%20-%20fr%20publica 1
2 Regulatry cmpliance within the retail intermediary industry will necessitate a further leap if the prpsals under Insurance Mediatin Directive (IMD2) cme t fruitin. 4 The mst cntrversial change which is expected t take effect in 2015 is the requirement fr mandatry disclsure t the plicyhlder f the nature and structure f cmmissin arrangements (subject t a five year transitinal perid fr nn-life prducts where such disclsure shall be n request ). Trade bdies, representing insurance brkers have argued that they will be placed at a disadvantage when cmpared with direct-selling insurers. Hwever the EU stresses that this is an imprtant step frward fr custmers t enable them make infrmed chices. It seems therefre that the IMD2 prpsed amendments will g ahead. The nly cnstant is change and a paradigm shift is required. Rather than seek answers r apprtin blame externally r embark n cstly advertising campaigns aimed t widely at an entire custmer base, brkers must re-evaluate their cre business. Brkers have at their fingertips databases f infrmatin enabling them, in an individual capacity, make decisins n their custmer base in terms f custmer prfile, prduct range, claims, lyalty, attritin rates, up-selling, crss-selling t mentin just a few. Running a firm n a trial and errr basis, hping that things imprve, that premium rates increase, that cmmissin rates will rise r that different results may ensue frm repeated, flawed actins based n guesstimates f figures quickly leads t business paralysis. Embracing a bespke business intelligence slutin, beynd the static reprting available in the pre-packaged IT brker mdels, enables a structured strategy f develpment t take place, leaving the ld fashined mdels t fllw sheep-like dwn the almst inevitable rute t extinctin. 4 2
3 Table f Cntents: 1. Intrductin 2. Wh are yur Custmers? 3. The Effectiveness f Existing Business Intelligence Systems 4. Regulatin 5. Cnclusin 6. Abut the Authr 1. Intrductin: Picture the scene at mnth end in a brker s ffice. s are issued t all staff advising them, nt t enter anything new n the system r t alter any figures as mnth end is abut t run. When the mnth end ends, figures are pred ver and filed. Imagine if the figures spke mre clearly, prvided a hlistic and cmprehensive view f where the firm was placed t meet its wn targets r t plan fr the next quarter? T ften, brkers are happy when the mnth end runs withut issue and start a new mnth edging twards yet anther mnth end and anther year end. Is there an alternative? Well yes, there is. 3
4 2. Wh are yur Custmers? As the changes in custmer expectatins reshape the key cmpetitive battlegrunds and business pprtunities within the industry, nearly 90% f insurance CEOs are planning t change their strategies fr managing custmer grwth, lyalty and retentin (nearly 40% are anticipating majr changes). Building the custmer base and imprving custmer service are the tp tw pririties fr investment. 5 Target yur custmers, nt the wrld. #brkersgdigital cnta.cc/kldf4 (reginal meetings t prmte business nline) Practive brkers and thse pssibly just fearful f being left behind have jined the scial media revlutin in terms f presence n sites such as Facebk r twitter. Blgs encurage traffic t brkers websites, with the aim f attracting ptential new custmers. Prfessinal bdies such as the IBA help in the prmtin f a brker s business nline. The IBA reginal meetings fr February 2014 have this tpic highlighted. 6 The questin is t what level this additinal channel is adding revenue and at what cst? Brkers can easily identify hw many fllwers r likes they have n scial media sites but d yu knw wh yur custmers are? The answer lies nt in the spreadsheet f names and addresses but in mining data t determine incme per plicyhlder, types f plicies purchased, hw ften they are purchased and the ptential pprtunity fr crss selling? The infrmatin allws a fcus n prduct fferings and als ffers sme prtectin fr brkers t ensure that best advice is ffered t meet ever tightening regulatry demands #brkersgdigital cnta.cc/kldf4 4
5 Withut knwing yur best custmers, yu can t effectively retain them, keep them lyal, r turn them int advcates and referrals fr yur cmpany. 3. The Effectiveness f Existing Business Intelligence Systems: Systems which are built using the traditinal platfrms, upgraded as required, prvide static reprting. A cmmn challenge experienced by Brkers is the cntinued duplicatin f entries n existing IT framewrks. This wastes supprt persnnel s time and can als cause unnecessary delay in servicing custmers, leading t frustratin. The presence f duplicate and/r different data fr the same custmer reduces the validity f the data extracted n reprts. The lack f crdinatin between systems can lead t custmers being lst in the mire r alternatively being verladed by duplicate mailsht attempts at a range f prducts, pssibly nt suited t them. Brkers traditinally purchase ne f the main insurance IT platfrms t meet their IT requirements. The delivery f infrmatin frm pre-built packages, despite significant investment is ften at variance t the expectatins f the end user. The emphasis n the BI systems was technlgy driven rather than cncentrating n the asset f infrmatin available. As a result, the technlgy in use enables lw quality data t be gathered and displayed in a segmented manner. Data verlad in static spreadsheets prvides little insight fr develpment f wrkable strategies. If yu dn t knw hw gd yur business intelligence is then ask yurself the fllwing Are yu able t quickly get answers t yur questins, i.e. is real time data available? Can staff access key infrmatin needed t serve custmers as efficiently and effectively as pssible? Are yu getting relevant infrmatin delivered t yu withut yu having t search fr it? D yu suffer frm data verlad and incnsistent waves f data with n lgical results? In these challenging times, business intelligence is what yu need t gain (and sustain) a cmpetitive advantage s dn t be afraid t review yur current BI capabilities. If yu are nt able t maximise the data available t yu t explit every pprtunity t increase sales then maybe it s time yu lked at imprving yur current system in a bid t create a fully integrated system that ffers a cmplete and accurate view f yur business in real time. 5
6 Sales - What infrmatin shuld yur BI prvide? Qutatins prvided per prduct line Cnversins achieved per prduct line Cnversins per accunt handler Plicy cunt per accunt handler Premium Incme per accunt handler Cmmissin and fee incme per accunt handler Claims statistics per insurer Sales vs. KPI s Sales vs. targets per prduct prducer Sales via nline platfrms (where applicable) vs. traditinal face t face sales Lapse rates per prduct line Lapse rates per prduct prducer Lapse rates per accunt handler Incme per transactin Incme per class f business Crss selling pprtunities Upselling success Grss written premium per prduct prducer Incme per prduct prducer Analysis f custmer prfiles Analysis f figures fr ptential prtfli transfer Claims analysis vs. GWP n bk f business Psitining BI in the rganisatinal structure By placing BI at heart f the rganisatin, it can feed all sectins in a chesive manner, encuraging crss team c-peratin and a cmprehensive, rganisatin wide analysis f perfrmance. Sales IT Business Intelligence Cmpliance Claims Finance /Strategy 6
7 4. Regulatin Brker firms are ften small businesses with persnnel dubling up t fill a variety f rles depending n business needs and resurces. The challenge f practively meeting regulatry requirements places nerus respnsibility n brkers. Their lw impact status des nt exclude them frm regulatry scrutiny. Time cnstraints can push regulatry needs t the end f the queue when preference can be given instead t generate much needed revenue. The prductin f reprts as shwn in the sample belw, helps a firm adhere t regulatry rules, but als acts as a valuable managerial tl fr prprietrs/directrs in terms f crprate management. Whether the wnerships is n a sle prprietr, partnership r limited cmpany basis, cntrl f the regulatry framewrk and ethical standards within a regulated firm lies at the tp f the rganisatin. Exceptin reprts tracking adherence t CPC rules fr rebates Exceptin reprts tracking adherence t Nn-Life Insurance (Prvisin f Infrmatin) (Renewal f plicy f Insurance) Regulatins Exceptins reprting fr brker fees falling utside Terms f Business agreements Cmplaints and errrs reprting /management Dashbard financials, key prviders, KPI management AML reprting 7 7
8 5. Cnclusin: The wrld f insurance brking is evlving and is faced with similar challenges t the retail sectr in terms f cmpetitin frm nline prviders. It is als faced with increased regulatin frm hme regulatrs and at a Eurpean level and its ability t target custmers is affected with advertising rules intrduced by the Central Bank t mre fully prtect custmers. When squeezed frm all sides, it is perhaps easier t maintain an utward fcus twards the external reasns fr difficulties rather than turn inwards and cncentrate n cre business data. Yet by fcusing its energies n its wn strengths including the analysis f accurate and cnsistent data, the brking industry can build new strategies fr survival and grwth, meeting new challenges head n. Abut the Authr: Máire Ryan McSherry wrks as Head f Cmpliance fr an Underwriting Agency and as Cmpliance Manager fr a grup f retail intermediaries in the Suth East f Ireland. Máire has 20 years experience in general insurance with rles including multi branch management f a retail intermediary, sales management and training and cmpliance rles. She als wrks in a cnsultancy capacity fr the Insurance Institute f Ireland as authr f updated cmpliance textbks and regulatry updates fr its web based learning platfrm. 8
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