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Discover what Zurich and 3,000 brokers learnt from Undercover Insurer

At a glance

  • Three Zurich bosses went ‘undercover’ with brokers in an innovative five-part video series
  • Watched by over 3,000 brokers and industry professionals since December 2013
  • Zurich bosses discovered brokers who had a real focus on the customer, and a real pride in their jobs

The Undercover Insurer web series has allowed Zurich to find out what brokers really want from insurers.

For five episodes, Zurich bosses Gareth McChesney, Trudi Archer and Ian McManus worked with front-line broker staff to understand some of the day-to-day issues and frustrations their businesses face.

The relationship [between insurer and brokers] is getting stronger because of the increasing focus on customer service, as opposed to only price

Trudi Archer, Head of Customer Service for Personal Lines

The office staff at the brokerages were kept in the dark as to the visitors’ true identities, in order that they would be as honest as possible.

To find out what Zurich took away from the whole experience, we spoke to the three Zurich bosses about what they learned during their time under cover.

Q: What did you learn most from brokers during the Undercover Insurer experience?

Ian McManus: I discovered the emphasis that brokers put on specialist expertise operating in the schemes market. They really understand the customers they are insuring.

Trudi Archer: There was a real focus on the customer and how insurers can play a part in driving improvements, sharing ideas and exploring opportunities to continually enhance the customer experience.

Undercover Insurer

Q: How do you think insurers can best help to service the tripartite relationship between Zurich, a broker and the end customer?

Gareth McChesney: Customers are looking for the unique service that a broker can offer. I think we are on the cusp of a consumer shift away from the focus purely being on price, to a focus on the service and support that a broker brings.

Ian McManus: We are also seeing a number of brokers whose focus on delivery to the customer is attracting back customers who may have solely bought on price initially.

Q: What is the current state of the relationship between insurers and brokers?

Trudi Archer: The relationship is getting stronger because of the increasing focus on customer service, as opposed to just price. I think the  relationship will strengthen with  those insurance companies that demonstrate they are willing to listen, are easy to access and make the referral process easier for brokers.

Zurich’s top three learnings

1. Reaffirmed the importance of listening to brokers on the frontline

2. Emphasised the collaborative approach needed to support smooth customer service

3. It put the spotlight on policy validation and processes for dealing with fraud

Q: How can brokers and insurers best work together to combat fraud?

Gareth McChesney: Brokers have already been doing great work in this area, so now we need to ensure we all work together. There’s a key role for insurers to play in evidencing the need for these processes. The controls in place will ultimately lead to more competitive and accurate premiums.

Ian McManus: There’s a real need for us, as an industry, to get the quality of the data we hold for our customers to a much higher standard. Both brokers and insurers rely on the information they receive, so if the data’s wrong on the way in, then the assumptions we make will be incorrect.

Q: What surprised you most about the experience?

Gareth McChesney: I was impressed with the focus on the professional qualifications on the front-line. Brokers recognised the benefits of Chartered Insurance Institute qualifications and there was a real hunger for people to forge a career, rather than just have a job.

Trudi Archer: For me, it was the balance the staff demonstrated in their attitude towards the customer, their people and the technical requirements for the job, all of which was supported by great training opportunities.

The Zurich bosses

Q: What did you enjoy most?

Trudi Archer: It was great to see people who are genuinely proud to do their job and have a desire to grow their knowledge of the industry they’re in.

Gareth McChesney: The market place evolves all the time, so it’s important to get out and keep up to date with the latest key issues and challenges brokers face.

Q: Will you spend more time listening to brokers on the front-line?

Gareth McChesney: The experience reaffirmed the importance of listening to brokers. The one thing I will do differently is spend more time talking to staff on the front-line, who understand the challenges and it will be really important for us to get that feedback.

Ian McManus: The important thing for me is spending time with the people doing the day-to-day work – those on the front desk at the heart of the work.

Q: How will Zurich listen to the feedback and use it the plan for 2014 and beyond?

Ian McManus: We’ve been on a journey for a couple of years now. The broker channel is a very significant proportion of our Personal Lines business in the UK and we’ve invested heavily in it over the last couple of years.

We’ve re-engineered our proposition to offer an improved service, better transactional relationships, and eliminated costs in our business to make it more competitive. Now we are looking to develop our niche opportunities – there’s a degree of expertise in the market that doesn’t exist everywhere and we’re very keen to talk to brokers and work on new opportunities. We’ve done the hard work with changing our landscape, we now want to focus on bespoke opportunities.

To watch all previous episodes of Undercover Insurer, click here.

Image © Getty

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