Recovering from #BIBAFever

BIBA 2019 was an opportunity to test the pulse of the UK regional broking market, and technology dominated the conversation, says Quotall Founding Director Steve Sherlock.

This year was Quotall’s first time ever exhibiting at BIBA, and it’s fair to say we now fully understand why #BIBAFever is a thing. BIBA 2019 was highly energetic event that exceeded our expectations and provided a great opportunity to find out what makes brokers excited these days, and what is keeping them awake at night.

Much of the buzz was about insurance technology and digital transformation. Debates about the opportunities and challenges these bring raged on the exhibition floor and continued into the bars and restaurants of Manchester – even Boris Johnson’s surprise leadership launch during his keynote address didn’t shift the limelight from this key topic.

Less talking about insurtech and a bit more action?

The barometer is clearly shifting towards embracing the online distribution channels that have transformative potential for the UK’s broking community, and some brokers are starting to move on from asking ‘why digitalise’ towards asking ‘how’:

  • One of the brokers that came to our stand had worked out that his staff are wasting 18 days each year just by routinely double keying customer data into multiple sites, systems and software
  • The broker in question had undertaken a time and motion study to understand more about their business processes – essential information in our view to underpin a technology investment
  • Another broker turned up to ask how they could  digitalise their business. They currently operate without any kind of platform and it was quickly apparent that they could be automating at least 80% of their current manual processes. It would be a transformative process.
  • On the flip side they feared that investing in a platform would mean they’d likely have to cut staff – a common misconception. They hadn’t considered how digitalisation could instead grow their business to new levels, by automating zero value-add activities and redeploying resource to new – and arguably much more interesting – business development activities.

It was clear to us from BIBA that brokers want assistance to understand how transformative technology can enhance their businesses. Such thinking should include efficiency savings and growth potential.

At the same time, it is critical that they select the right partner for their IT investment. Of course, we would say that wouldn’t we? But the point I’m making is that not all software products are alike, and it is vital that brokers understand what they need a system to do for them, what the benefits are for their business, and what the ‘out of the box’ capabilities are of the system they’re considering using before they go ahead.

To assist we are developing an app to help work out the benefits of digitising a business. It poses a number of key questions about how business is currently processed that take no more than five minutes to answer, and comes up with an accurate cost benefit. Watch this space for more details!

Consumer and industry technologies are reshaping the sector

Insurtech service providers for a variety of technologies were a formidable presence in Manchester serving to illustrate how technology is transforming the industry.  That has changed the conference’s demographic, from an event largely populated by brokers and insurers themselves, to more and more insurance technology folk showcasing an ever-broadening range of technology products and services.

Clearly there is growing interest, awareness and demand for new technologies and digital transformation. Increasingly, brokers are accepting that being a ‘relationship business’ doesn’t preclude opening up new online distribution channels to offer clients greater choice and a better, more efficient service.

Brokers want agility in their systems and services, as well as demonstrable value for money. We want to be part of that conversation.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on our stand at BIBA 2019, and to the many others who sent through enquiries. We look forward to working with you all soon. #BIBAFever Forever!