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Why brokers need to win business at sustainable levels

At a glance

  • Martin Geen of PSP Insurance Solutions is our latest Broker Voice
  • The Cornwall-based broker sees opportunities within the leisure market
  • Changes in the industry need to be embraced by brokers, rather than feared

For over a quarter of a century, PSP Insurance Solutions has been helping corporate and individual customers solve their insurance needs.

We spoke to director Martin Geen about the challenges facing the Cornwall-based brokerage.

Q: What lines of business do you specialise in, and what are the opportunities and challenges you see there?

A: We are a rare breed here – an independent Commercial and Personal Lines broker with aspirations of regional domination!

Due to our Cornish location, we have a lot of leisure-based business and, of course, insurances for all aspects of the surfing industry. The leisure market is probably the most challenging area, but also one that gives us many opportunities. A number of insurers are backing away from the market as it is more and more becoming an area dominated by schemes. However, with some canny broking and good advice, there is still potential for us to maintain and grow our book in this area.

Broker Voice gives UK brokers the opportunity to voice their opinion on the state of the insurance industry, outline what makes their own personal style of business different from their competitors, and what personal interests enhance their professional life.


Q: Are you on social media? What’s your Twitter handle/LinkedIn profile?

A: We are venturing onto Twitter as we speak. Feel free to follow us at @PSPInsuranceNQ!

Q: Does the rise of the aggregator model worry you?

A: You are always initially concerned when something so high profile challenges the way you do business, but you have to evolve to meet the challenge and, let’s face it, they aren’t going anywhere.

There will always be customers who will purchase insurance using the aggregators, but there are also a large number of customers who do place value on the advice and service we provide, and we feel this gives us the advantage.

Q: What industry changes keep you up at night?

A: Only my baby boy, Herbie, keeps me up at night! Changes in the industry are constant and we have to keep up and reflect these in the advice and service we provide to our clients. It’s challenging, but change is something to be embraced and not feared.

Q: What do you think are the biggest emerging risks, and why?

A: The continued quickened pace of technological advancement brings new risks to the market on a constant basis. It appears the industry is struggling to recognise the potential risks quickly enough and offer appropriate solutions.

Q: Is the market hardening?

A: No. There are ebbs and flows in different sectors and the usual amount of insurance company brinkmanship, but each time someone makes a move to harden, there seems to be any number of insurers ready to step in, and the process starts again.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for brokers these days?

A: Winning new business at sustainable levels. Like us, most of our local competitors have policy retention rates over 90%, but in a continued soft market most insurers are keen to retain their market share and are willing to either price match, or, at the very least, compete.

Buyers have become savvier and most risks that we are asked to quote upon, have been to the market at least once within the last two years and are priced adequately. Fortunately we find our approach of primarily focusing on cover, rather than just the bottom line, proves to be successful and more often leads to a longer-term relationship with our clients, who have come to trust in the advice that we provide.

Q: Do you think brokers are recognised enough by the public for the value that they add?

A: Generally not, I’ve lost count of the times that I have heard a client tell me that we earned £10,000 from them last year, and I have to explain that most of that is actually the insurance premium.

It tends to be that we are recognised when we give them good advice or when a claim is handled well.

Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to get cover for?

A: We were once asked to quote for a self-confessed ‘Ghostbuster’. As a paranormal detective he felt that there was a real requirement for Professional Indemnity Insurance; unfortunately there wasn’t much money in ‘ghostbusting’ and I think he found the premiums somewhat hair-raising.

Q: Rugby or football?

A: Both. Living in Cornwall and born in Surrey, it’s obviously Manchester United, but you also can’t beat watching the Newquay Hornets RFC or Newquay Football Club.

Q: Fees or commissions?

A: Commissions are the most pertinent and reasonable way to earn enough money via small and package business. However, fees for larger clients make more sense as they allow all parties to ascertain the value of the relationship and help differentiate broker advice from the insurer’s costs.

Q: If you were the head of the FCA, what would be the first thing you would do?

A: Start looking for someone more suitable and then go on 12 months’ gardening leave!

Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?

A: It’s Geen NOT Green

Q: Newspaper or iPad?

A: You can’t beat the Sunday Papers, but e-papers are great during the week.

Q: What is your favourite word, and why?

Convivial, because we should all be more sociable.

Q: Can’t get through the weekend without…?

A Man Utd. win and a pint of Guinness. Or two.

Image © Getty

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