Web wise brokers see the future online

Article date: 25 June 2004

Brokers who don't harness the potential of e-commerce will failaccording to "Techno Savvy" intermediaries who believe their futuredepends on exploiting the internet.

These "Techno Savvies" are now the UK broker markets dominantgroup, representing about a third of intermediaries, according tonew research by Norwich Union.

They are also in favour of a less populated broker market andwould not be unhappy if this was brought about by FSAregulations.

The research across 400 brokers also identified three otherprincipal business types in UK broking: "Corner Shops", "FadingFamilies" and "Old Style Pros".

The "Corner Shops" (26%) like to maintain the personal touch andindependence of smaller companies while the family-run "FadingFamilies" (23%) tend to be the most pessimistic, seeing threatsfrom all directions, including large retailers selling insurance,Government regulations and the contraction of the industry.

Finally, the "Old Style Pros" (20%) – with theircommercial insurance focus – appear to hold no fear of theincreasing diversity of insurance providers or advances intechnology, instead looking to the loyalty of their businessclients for future security.

Norwich Union’s intermediary business director, KenWallace, said: "In the main, brokers are showing a positiveoutlook, with more than 80% saying they are optimistic about thefuture, though personal insurance brokers are less so than theircommercial counterparts.

"It appears most agree that technology will play an importantpart in the offering to customers and those who refuse to embraceit will struggle."

The findings also show that brokers dealing in commercialinsurance feel less susceptible to competition and are also morelikely to be expanding their business in the coming year. Whileoverall concerns over competition are increasing, the fear of FSAregulations appears to have fallen.

Wallace adds: "Interestingly, the factor that brokers feel ishaving the most positive effect on the industry is ‘customersbecoming more demanding’. We acknowledge that it is only thecombined approach of insurers and brokers that can achievethis."

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For further editorial informationcontact:
Jon Clements at Staniforth
tel: 0161 274 0100
mob: 07989 414486 

David Ross at the Norwich Union Press Office
tel: 08703 666865
mob: 07786 526350

Notes to editors:
Norwich UnionInsurance

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14%
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    • one in seven motor vehicles
    • more than 800,000 businesses
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