Brokers' local service a winner for SMEs

Article date: 12 September 2003

As they would say in the BBC comedy, The League ofGentlemen, the strength of brokers is based on a “localservice for local people”.

The latest Norwich Union research conducted by Holden Pearmainreveals that more than 60% of SMEs prefer to deal with localbusinesses, and 79% actually prefer to meet their suppliers face-to-face.

Familiarity breeds “content” in the case of brokers,with more than 80% of small business owners choosing to deal with abroker they know personally.

Getting a good deal is clearly part of any broker-clientrelationship, but the research shows that sound advice is alsoconsidered to be vital, with 80% of those using a brokerconsidering them to have the right mix of skills and knowledge tohelp their businesses.

However, the findings showed a growing trend for brokers to bemore vulnerable than accountants, solicitors, IFAs and even bankswhen it came to SMEs taking their business elsewhere, if it madefinancial sense.

Equally, overall use of brokers has dropped by 9% and anemerging threat appears to be coming from the banks, whose offersof commercial insurance have been noted by more than 20% ofSMEs.

Debbie Heaney, head of knowledge and customer development– commercial product management, Norwich Union says:“When it comes to obtaining their insurance, small and mediumsized businesses are far closer to a local broker than an insurer,thanks to the understanding brokers have of their clients’business needs.

“But brokers should be aware of the important role theiradded value services play in maintaining those relationships, asfirms are willing to shop around for better deals in an expandingmarket for commercial insurance.”

“Norwich Union is committed to working with brokers toensure the advice and service they provide for their clients isvalued and competitive. Through our regular research programme, weaim to inform brokers of the shifts in the market and thestrategies needed to maintain customer loyalty.”


For further information contact
Jon Clements at Staniforth, tel: 0161 274 0130/mob: 07989414486
David Ross at Norwich Union, tel: 08703 666 865/ mob: 07786526350

Notes to editors:

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer with a marketshare of around 16 per cent and is more than 1.5 times the size ofits nearest rival. It is also the largest personal linesinsurer.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available on the Aviva internet press centre at
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

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