Sharon Bishop: Broker Barometer Survey 2019 – helping us to understand our brokers’ needs and challenges


Remember that Mel Gibson film, ‘What Women Want?’ Mel plays a chauvinist agency exec who learns to respect women (and fall in love) after being given the ability to read women’s minds. What Women Want was released in 2000 and is a little cheesy by today’s standards (I still love it), but the premise of wanting to know what others are thinking, is a natural human instinct.
In commerce too, intelligence (or MI – management information – in insurance-speak) is paramount. How do business leaders set strategy if they operate in a knowledge vacuum? How do leaders know what their customers, employees, investors, the media, are thinking about their business if they never ask them? £millions are spent every year on research, insight, surveys and opinion polls. Delving into the minds of others is big business.
At Close Brothers Premium Finance, generating quality data and MI is a core competence. And, in order to gain a better understanding of the challenges and the opportunities ahead for UK brokers we have launched a survey in partnership with Insurance Age.
The survey asks brokers for their views on a range of issues which are receiving wide coverage in the trade media and are also coming up time and again in conversations we have with our partners around the country. For example, we’re keen to know more about how brokers view the accelerating use of technology.
In some financial services sectors, such as accounting, digitisation is forcing high street accountants to question their very existence. But how do brokers feel? Is technology the road to extinction, or will it be the catalyst for growth and prosperity.
Broker consolidation is back on the agenda in a big way. But is the recent wave of consolidation cyclical or is it here to stay? What about premium finance? Are brokers content with existing models, or do they want something different? And so, to diversity. Do brokers see themselves as a progressive sector, with diversity, employee wellness and equality of opportunity at the heart, or something we still need to aspire to?
Of course, it’s dangerous to see research findings as tablets of stone. Leaders who think external research validates difficult decisions, or that market research can predict the future are on a hiding to nothing. But alongside judgement, experience, relationship management and instinct, market intelligence is a useful tool to help leaders improve their decision making.
I hope all our broking friends will participate in our survey. The findings will shed new light on what the broking world is thinking, and I look forward to sharing the results with you as soon as I can.