Open for business on commercial lines

March 31, 2017 Adrian Coupland

With the distribution of commercial insurance products evolving quickly, the market is showing real signs of adoption of e-trading — and so is SSP. We have renewed our contract with Polaris, and are seeing an uptake in volumes as a result of our revitalised approach to commercial e-trading. This transformation is continuing through 2017.

Verdict Financial figures showed that, despite growth in other channels, brokers still distributed 78.2% of commercial insurance in 2014, and they are forecast to remain dominant in 2020, with 72.4% of the market.

The key objective of our review was to understand the barriers preventing our brokers — who trade significant untapped commercial GWP each year — from adopting commercial e-trading.

Through engaging with all of the customer groups, we identified a number of areas where we could evolve to provide a stronger service proposition. We found no silver bullet during the process, but we did confirm there are a few fundamentals to address to achieve real adoption — which is where the application of our personal lines thinking comes to the fore.

Having brought all our functions together, the relationship team who delivered the first personal lines quotes hub and data enrichment to the market are now driving our commercial e-trading proposition forward. SSP has an excellent track record for delivery of personal lines, and we are employing the same methodology to commercial lines.

A lot of our brokers were using our e-trading platform for commercial quotes, but less than half of the users actually subsequently traded a policy. So what was the reason for this? Many insurers offer subtly different pricing through their portal for a host of reasons.

The remedy to this is quite simple. If there is a disparity where the portal is cheaper, it is possible to override the price in SSP Commercial Lines to keep the policy on an integrated e-trade status — we are re-educating our users of this.

Another fundamental was inconsistent business processes, so we have actively been closing the functionality gaps and providing clean, crisp information for users ahead of the business process.

In addition to remedying these fundamentals, we have also changed our market approach. This has put us on the front foot when it comes to market initiatives.

The first of these is a live-chat service in January 2017, which will keep more business within the e-trade space. When brokers have any questions regarding, for example, a disparity in price, they can chat to the insurer within that session, get the answers they need and continue with placing the business.

As we are one of the first software houses to introduce this functionality, SSP's brokers will benefit from a consistent user experience regardless of which insurer they are dealing with. The same applies for insurers, irrespective of which broker the query originated from. With such increased ease of engagement, more brokers will turn to e-trading as the channel of choice for commercial business.

We have further rejuvenated our engagement with insurers through the implementation of a commercial lines service desk. We are committed to delivering the same quality of support across personal and commercial lines, and that is exactly what this service desk achieves.

While this is only the start of our journey, we have already seen a 375% increase in renewal transactions. 2017 is set to be an exciting year for commercial lines e-trading, and both the market and SSP are primed for action.

Read our live-chat announcement at:
 SSP enhances commercial lines trading with web chat launch

This article is an extract from SSP eye issue 9

About the author

Adrian Coupland

Adrian joined SSP in 2005 and has over 20 years’ experience in the market across broking, distribution, business development and technology. After 15 years in the broking industry, ten of which were with A-Plan, Adrian has spent the last 11 years at SSP. As Customer and Marketing Managing Director, he is part of the executive team, and his expertise in data and innovation ensure SSP's customers are at the leading edge of advancements in the insurance industry. Adrian has been instrumental in developing SSP's real-time pricing and telematics strategies and shaping its data strategy across all territories.

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