UK Commercial Insurance Distribution 2016; An industry where adapting to the market is key

UK Commercial Insurance Distribution 2016; An industry where adapting to the market is key


Commercial insurance has become a highly competitive market, and the distribution of its products is evolving. Brokers continue to hold the highest share of the commercial market, despite growth in other channels. The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market has been driving this change. SMEs that require less comprehensive insurance products have been moving away from the added-value advice service from brokers, instead shifting towards self-service, online purchasing platforms.

The broker landscape continues to be dominated by the top few global companies and a multitude of smaller firms. Consolidation of the broker market is set to continue; however, the rate of acquisitions has significantly slowed after the major consolidation and growth rush of the late 2000s. Brokers are now looking to use their existing products and sectors of expertise to grow, meanwhile focusing on developing their online propositions to enable them to regain share previously lost by the SME market.

The Insurance Act 2015, which comes into force in August 2016 will make significant changes to commercial contract law. It will make contracts more certain and passes the responsibility of compliance to insurers. It will promote better communication and co-operation between all parties involved in arranging commercial contracts, ultimately giving underwriters a better understanding of the practices and the subsequent risks of those being insured.

Key Findings

  •  Brokers continue to dominate the distribution of commercial insurance, with a 78.2% share of the market.
  •  Provincial brokers are less concerned about growing their online propositions.
  •  Banks have the potential to cross-sell insurance with their existing business services.
  •  Micro-sized enterprises are driving the growth of price comparison sites.

Verdict Financial’s “UK Commercial Insurance Distribution 2016” report provides an in-depth study into the trends of commercial insurance distribution. It discusses the influence of the differing purchasing behaviours of SMEs compared to larger corporate businesses, and pays particular attention to the role and strategies of brokers within product distribution. It addresses the challenges the market is facing, and key changes in regulation, before concluding with a five-year forecast for each distribution channel.

Reasons To Buy
  •  Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it still meets the needs of clients and intermediaries. Ensure you remain competitive as new innovations revolutionize the purchasing journey for clients and brokers.
  •  Benchmark your firm against other players in the market.
  •  Be prepared for how regulation will impact the commercial market over the next few years.

  • Executive Summary
    • Brokers remain dominant in a market shifting towards online purchasing
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Commercial Insurance: The Distribution Channels
    • Introduction
    • Brokers remain dominant despite growth in other channels
      • The complexity of commercial insurance sustains the dominance of the broker channel
      • Brokers are becoming less significant in the distribution of uncomplicated products
    • The distribution of SME insurance is moving away from brokers
      • SMEs are purchasing commoditized commercial products online
      • The direct channel is competitive against brokers within the SME market
        • Table Percentage point movement in channel share by SME size, 2014–15
      • Micro enterprises are driving the growth of price comparison sites, whereas small and medium enterprises are driving the growth of the banking channel
    • Commercial insurance distribution and the direct channel
      • Insurers are growing their direct channels
      • Product commoditization has limited scope within commercial insurance
      • Only a few commercial insurers have developed a direct proposition
        • Table The top five direct insurers (percentage of SME respondents), 2015
      • AXA's commercial direct offering is now digital-only
      • Direct Line for Business offers customers a range of additional online features and service options
      • Hiscox offers guidance to help customers build their own insurance package
      • NFU Mutual offers a traditional broker-like direct service
      • Aviva has brought back its direct offering for commercial insurance
      • Allianz has a long-established direct offering called Premierline
    • Price comparison sites and commercial insurance distribution
      • Aggregators target SMEs with commercial insurance products
      • Price comparison sites' commercial offerings are in partnership with Simply Business and Towergate's YOUR Insurance brand
      • and are favored by SMEs
    • Banks and building societies and commercial insurance distribution
      • Banks and building societies are the least used channel through which commercial insurance is purchased
      • Banks have the potential to cross-sell insurance with their existing business services
      • Barclays and Lloyds are the leading banks providing SME insurance
      • Barclays' business insurance is underwritten by Allianz
      • Lloyds Bank tailors its business offerings by company size
  • Brokers and the Distribution of Commercial Insurance
    • The broker landscape is dominated by the top few global brokers
    • Global brokers have the largest share of commercial insurance revenues
      • The broker landscape is dominated by the top few global brokers
      • JLT is now the UK's largest broker
      • Marsh is expanding into the UK SME market through acquisitions
      • Aon's revenue remains steady year-on-year
      • Willis merges with Tower Watson to offer insurance broking and consultancy
      • Growth has slowed for Arthur J. Gallagher as it integrates its acquired businesses
    • There is a downward curve in revenue from global brokers to provincial brokers
      • National brokers handle significantly less GWP than global brokers
      • Super-regional brokers' revenue is representative of their varying stages of growth
    • National, super-regional, and provincial broker growth strategies
      • Brokers are looking to use their existing products and expertise to grow
        • Table Broker business growth strategies, 2016
      • Brokers look to create a multi-channel distribution strategy by growing online
      • Acquisitions are an effective way to rapidly grow revenue
        • Table Broker business growth strategies, percentage point movement 2015–16
      • Brokers are using social media to engage with clients
      • National brokers are looking to expand their range of online services
      • Super-regional brokers have prioritized online quotation systems
      • Provincial brokers are less concerned about developing their online propositions
  • The Future of UK Commercial Insurance Distribution
    • The Insurance Act 2015 will modernize UK commercial contract law
      • UK insurance contract law is undergoing transformation
      • The Duty of Fair Presentation will pass disclosure responsibility from clients to insurers
      • Remedies for non-disclosure will be proportionate to the breach
      • Warranties will now only suspend cover until a breach has been remedied
      • Insurers can now only recover sums paid since an act of fraud
      • Insurers will have to highlight disadvantageous terms
      • The Insurance Act 2015 will have a positive effect on the commercial insurance market
    • How will the distribution landscape change in the coming years?
      • The SME market will become more dominant within commercial insurance
      • The decline of the non-SME market will cause brokers to lose share
        • Table Share of commercial insurance distribution by channel (%), 2013–20f
      • Online offerings will rule for SMEs regardless of channel
        • Table Share of SME insurance distribution by channel (%), 2013–20f
      • Micro and small-sized enterprises will drive change in the SME market
      • The future of the SME market will be indicative of future commercial distribution
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
    • Definitions
      • Brokers
      • Direct
      • MGA
      • SME
    • Methodology
      • Primary sources
      • Secondary sources
    • Bibliography
    • Further reading
    • About Verdict Financial
    • Disclaimer

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