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Zurich builds on its real estate offering

At a glance

  • Zurich’s segmented approach to Real Estate is a hit with brokers with its clearly defined categories

Roy Standish, Zurich’s Head of Real Estate Insurance, talks to Insider about how brokers are reaping the benefits from the move by Zurich a year ago to better define its Real Estate proposition and also Zurich’s plans for the year ahead.

Q. Roy, explain how Zurich’s push to split its Real Estate business into five distinct segments is helping brokers?

A. It’s enabled a more clearly defined proposition to be put into the market. Brokers benefit by having a much better understanding of our risk appetite and our preferred segments.

We’ve shared the output from a detailed analysis of our own book of business as well as extensive research to provide brokers with real insight into each sub-segment including profile, size/scope, types of property and typical risk traits.

We want to make it simpler for a broker and be clear about our risk appetite

Roy Standish, Zurich’s Head of Real Estate Insurance

Q. What other benefits are there for the broker?

A. The most frequently asked question by a broker is, ‘What do you really want to write, what is the business that you are really after?’

Brokers ask that question because they want to reduce their frictional costs and also want to direct the right enquiries to the right insurers. We’ve tried to develop that clarity with what we do and what we don’t do. We want to make it simpler for a broker and be clear about our risk appetite.

Q. Has the approach worked?

A. In some areas, enquiry volumes have reduced but strike rates [the number of sales made] have actually increased.

Q. Is it easier for brokers now to retrieve relevant clauses for their customers using Zurich’s Real Estate Focus document

A. Yes, as well as updating and extending our cover to incorporate relevant risks to each customer segment, we’ve also aimed to simplify the structure and language of the policy documents. So it’s easy to retrieve relevant clauses, all written in clear and consistent terminology. We have issued PDFs, specimens and hard copies of our revised wordings as part of the launch last year. The wording is intended to be far clearer and user friendly than ever before. We have had some great feedback from specialists in this space, the guys that are wording technicians, so that is working really well.

Q. Does the document better help brokers understand the specific nature of a potential policyholder’s situation and allow them to match it to a suitable policy?

A. Yes. What we’ve tried to do is define each segment. There’s a clear and easy to understand profile of the type of customer, the type of traits that you would expect to see in those five key segments and then we’ve gone on to explain what we’re focused on and why and the typical behaviors that you would see in that space. We’ve then mapped that into our cover and our proposition.

Q. Does the document give brokers a better understanding of the industry?

A. Yes, it’s quite big picture and the idea was that this was phase one; to get a clearly defined and easy to understand segmented approach out to the market.

Q. And what is phase two?

A. The second phase is very much to build on that and overlay a new Major Customer proposition. We already handle our major customers in a very distinctive way but we’re creating a tailored and unique proposition built around dedicated expertise, structured contact, enhanced service, bespoke risk & claims management and customer insight.

Q. Is there anything else planned?

A. Work is under way to further refine our approach to residential portfolios. Watch this space for more information on that opportunity very soon!

Roy has been Head of Real Estate since 2011. His role is to provide strategic direction and operational leadership for the Real Estate segment in the UK. He is responsible for developing and delivering the customer proposition and profit and loss for the Real Estate segment.


Image © Getty

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