At a glance
- Stewart Walker, Zurich's UK Head of Construction - Broker, discusses the new construction proposition launch that targets builders, civils and trades
- The proposition is being launched in response to broker and contractor feedback for more tailored and flexible cover
- Proposition is now live with regional expert construction underwriters able to quote and bind
The UK construction market is showing signs of recovery with more activity across public infrastructure projects and, importantly, private sector housing and commercial building.
Brokers are reporting growth and Zurich wants to ensure they can maximise opportunities.
Insider sat down with Stewart Walker, Zurich’s UK Head of Construction – Broker, to discuss the insurer’s new proposition that provides specific new product options covering construction for builders and developers, civil contractors, and allied and finishing trades.
Zurich’s latest construction proposition:
Q: Zurich is widely viewed as one of the largest providers in the market and as a construction specialist. What is the rationale for the new launch?
A: We are a substantial player when it comes to large construction risks. However, we wanted to increase our presence in the mid-market sector, where we felt we were punching below our weight. This sector has a wide reach, with customer turnover between £5m-£100m.
Our aim is to target specific customer segments so that brokers can talk to clients about cover that is appropriate to their individual needs.
Q: Can you give a bit more detail on the segments that Zurich is targeting?
A: The first is aimed at allied and finishing trades, covering shop fitters, electricians and building allied trades such as bricklayers, flooring contractors and suspended ceiling contractors. Also within this segment are plant hire and machinery installations, such as air conditioning and refrigeration engineers plus hirers of contractors’ plant or site welfare facilities.
Next, our construction proposition for civil engineers is aimed at contractors who undertake ground works involving utilities or transport infrastructure, and those carrying out ground engineering plus careful consideration to complex businesses such as structural engineers and wet civil engineering.
Finally, we have a builders segment. This will incorporate builders and developers of residential or commercial properties within the corporate construction segment. It is targeted at builders involved in new build, refurbishment or maintenance.
Our appetite remains broad and we are able to cater for the majority of construction related trades within the mid-market sector.
Q: You mention that the views of brokers and customers were taken into account with this launch. Tell me more.
A: We conducted an extensive research project among our brokers but also a large number of contractors, asking them what the top three issues were. They were health and safety, vital policy cover and cost but overall value for money was the key ingredient.
We were determined to address these issues and also to work on the perception that Zurich – while well regarded – is not always easy to navigate. Brokers said they wanted more flexibility and to tailor cover more easily.
Q: How will these new segments benefit from Zurich 360° Contractor?
A: 360° is a complete package, which will suit some customers but not others. These new launches allow brokers to upsell from our full 360° proposition if it is appropriate for their customers but the key difference is that we will also offer our upper quartile Zurich standard construction product providing a more competitive option.
Our aim is to target specific customer segments so that brokers can talk to clients about cover that is appropriate to their individual needs
Stewart Walker, UK Head of Construction – Broker
Brokers will be dealing with specialist construction underwriters who will explain the cover enhancements clearly to them. This will help brokers to advise their customers about which elements are important to them. The other really important point to note is that we also have a dedicated expert construction claims team as well as specialist risk engineers that only deal with construction clients. This dedicated resource gives us a deeper understanding of the industry.
We believe that the flexibility of our proposition will be attractive to many customers and can provide an angle for brokers to work with us on acquiring and retaining construction business.
Q: How can brokers find out more?
A: We’d encourage them to speak to their local Zurich office – our dedicated sales and market underwriting teams are ready and waiting to talk to and visit brokers now. In addition, we will be running construction focused ‘Breakfast Bites’ events that we’ll be holding across the regions in the coming weeks so speak to your local sales or construction underwriting contact for details. Our Elite brokers can also attend specialist Masterclasses where the emphasis will be on more technical construction issues, in addition to covering the launch.