Whether using an insurer extranet or a broker management system, for many brokers, e-trade is becoming the preferred way to trade insurance. At the same time, insurers and software providers are working together to provide an increasing range of integrated functionality and products.
What does our broker community think?
Insurance Times’ recent report “Five-Star Rating Report – eTrading 2020” delved into the minds of brokers to explore their experience with their chosen software houses and insurer extranets and reveal what they value most when it comes to e-trading. The findings have provided useful insights on how insurers and technology providers can help brokers trade more efficiently and how brokers see the future of e-trade.
Follow us in the first part of our blog series to explore the landscape of e-trading through broker management systems. We dig into some of the results of the survey and evaluate the benefits of e-trade for brokers today as well as their demands, as revealed by the report.
Brokers’ Requirements from E-trade
In terms of e-trading through a broker management system, the most significant areas for brokers, as highlighted by the report, are the following:
- Range & breadth of products
- System security
- Client management tools & support
- Usability & trading ease
- Technology & innovation
Brokers rated Acturis as the best software house in the industry for the fourth consecutive year. As illustrated in the chart above, we secured first place in all five areas explored in the survey. We are also the only player in the market with a continual improvement in the scores received from brokers.
But these results haven’t come about by chance. With our SaaS platform and focus on e-trade, we have helped drive much of the change the insurance industry has seen over the last years.
In 2005, Acturis pioneered e-trade in the UK insurance industry with the launch of the first ever commercial e-trade integration. Since then, e-trade has been at the core of our proposition and we believe it’s a crucial element to a broader business transformation.
That has seen Acturis play an instrumental role in expanding the e-trade marketplace, as we have worked with insurer partners to expand e-trade from the micro-SME to mid-market enabling brokers to digitally trade complex risks in real time.
Over the years, Acturis has been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what can be e-traded. Working with brokers and insurers, we have designed and developed e-tradeable question sets for more complex areas of insurance, such as Commercial Combined, Professional Indemnity Combined and Cyber Insurance. These question sets have opened up new market segments and insurers to e-trading, providing broker users with yet further trading efficiencies.
So, e-trade has come a long way since it first changed the way brokers and insurers work, but what are its main benefits for brokers?
Benefits of E-trade
When looking at the findings of the survey, one point is clear; brokers are increasingly realising the value they can get from e-trade.
When asked about the outcomes their broker management system has delivered to their business, 82% of Acturis brokers see improved efficiency. Using their broker management system to get quotes from across the market enables brokers to enter risk details once and compare multiple quotes and covers. The integrated nature of e-trade across an extensive panel of insurers saves significant time and resources by eliminating rekeying into numerous extranets.
As well as these efficiencies, a single point of access guarantees fewer errors while reassuring brokers that customer data is stored accurately and safely with a full audit trail of quotes and responses from insurers.
Discussing the advantages of e-trade, Jaime Swindle, Managing Director Products and Networks at Bravo Group, explains: “Having been at the forefront of e-trading over the past 15 years and working especially closely with Acturis, both as an insurer and now as a broker network and MGA, the benefits are countless. Not only has there been the ability to build and distribute products across a wide variety of lines giving brokers access to multiple markets with increased efficiency, but also the ability for insurers to trade with brokers they may not have been able to access.”
At the same time, the ability for full comparison of price and cover allows brokers to offer their customers a comprehensive —not just price-based— view of the market, thus meeting their specific needs and improving customer service. This clear and complete market representation to customers also helps brokers demonstrate fair treatment of their customers, thus complying with their FCA obligations.
“Brokers are able to offer their clients a digital experience and comparison in a time which even leaves some aggregators and direct channels wanting, whilst having the ability to provide that all importance advice”, Swindle continues.
In terms of automation, 57% of Acturis brokers believe their system has helped them streamline their business processes. Time-consuming tasks like exchange of risk data and documentation between brokers and insurers, mid-term adjustments and renewals are now automated giving optimal efficiency for brokers and insurers. These efficacies help account executives be more productive while allowing brokerages to compete better in today’s landscape.
As illustrated above, brokers have realised that the increased penetration of e-trade has allowed them to streamline their business and work more efficiently, resulting in improved overall competitiveness. Other benefits of using a software house to trade insurance digitally include cost savings and happier employees.
With that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that, when looking at the findings, brokers’ number one demand is a wider breadth of products and insurer availability through their software system. A wide variety of insurance products and panels means increased connectivity, fewer errors, wider product range, more insurer choice and flexibility in what they are able to offer to their customers.
Simon De Ferry, Commercial Lines Product Manager at Acturis says: “We are always in close collaboration with insurers and brokers to expand the commercial and personal lines offering on our system. The latest products introduced in e-trade by Acturis are Cyber insurance, Contractors Combined, Terrorism and Engineering classes of business, all of which have seen significant insurer interest in developing e-trade products”.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Insurers “[…] are able to be more sophisticated with their understanding of risk and pricing and continue to develop products and covers which are fit for the changing needs of customers”, Swindle says.
Software houses also need to keep monitoring product usage to look for ways to improve question sets, either to streamline the data entry experience, or to allow for coverage of a wider range of risks.
“We are in constant dialogue with insurers around further functionality improvements, such as integrated referral handling and policy wordings. Recent updates include major updates to our Commercial Combined and Property Owners data captures, with significant further changes to follow in 2020”, De Ferry continues.
As software houses keep on expanding their e-trade capabilities, they are continually looking at further ways to improve brokers’ experience of e-trade and incorporate the latest technology. So, should the industry be prepared for some big changes in the not so distant future?
What Does The Future Hold?
With the insurance industry embracing new technology faster than ever, brokers can’t help but wonder what the next big thing in e-trade will be.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that 43% of the brokers who took part in the survey expect that e-trading through broker management systems will dominate in the near future, while another 40% believe that both broker systems and extranets will remain dominant.
One thing is clear from the comments; the power of e-trade has greatly contributed to the efficiency and service which brokers are able to provide to their customers. The challenge now is for software providers to ensure that they drive further expansion in e-trade, continue to work with insurers to improve the quality and clarity of the product offerings across the panels, and stay at the forefront of future developments in e-trade.
For instance, among the elements that will influence the future of e-trade through software houses is the increased use of data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to provide a much wider picture of a customer or prospect than that which can be gathered from risk capture forms – this is something we will return to in future blogs.
In our next blog, we will analyse the results and broker feedback on insurer extranet systems, including some thoughts from our Web Development Director, Hayden Parra, on the recent trends we have seen on the websites we host for partner insurers.
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