The Sterling Insurance Group Annual Broker Survey has revealed continuing confidence among brokers for business prospects in 2015 and beyond. Asked how business volumes and profitability would change over the next 12 months, 80 per cent expected an overall increase – up from 73 per cent last year and 60 per cent in 2013.
Sterling, the high net worth and commercial SME insurance specialist, carried out the survey in March 2015 and received responses from 423 brokers – its largest response ever.
The responses revealed more optimism for commercial lines business than for personal lines – 84 per cent of brokers stated that they felt positive about commercial lines business over the next 12 months compared to 50 per cent for personal lines. This is similar to the results from last year’s survey, when 72 per cent of commercial brokers stated that they were optimistic for future growth, followed by 55 per cent of personal brokers.
When asked about the main client challenges facing them in 2015, the vast majority, 80 per cent, said that competition [from the likes of aggregators and direct providers] was their major issue but they also revealed a significant concern about reduced premium rates, with half (50 per cent), saying that this was a major problem for them.
The survey also revealed a significant appetite for e-trade activity in the wake of Sterling’s e-trade launch (March 2015). When asked if e-trade was likely to help them write more business, 65 per cent responded positively and almost half (49 per cent) planned to present Sterling with more business via e-trade.
One broker comment which echoed many of the responses received, said: “There is a growing and increased activity for e-trade which makes it much easier to compete at the lower level providing you select the right products.”
Commenting on the findings of the survey Sterling Insurance Director Personal Lines and Commercial, David Sweeney, comments: “It’s good to see that brokers, particularly in commercial, see business picking up yet further this year, showing that we are on an upward curve. Of course, challenges remain and we are mindful that the market is becoming even more competitive and that we need to work hard to offer the best cover and premiums that we can. Our e-trade proposition has enabled us to offer brokers even more ways of writing business with us and we have been really pleased with the feedback and expect a solid take up over the next few months.”
Sterling Insurance will be at BIBA in Manchester on 13th and 14th May, Stand B20, where senior staff will be on hand to discuss the results of the survey.
Victoria Roe at Spotlight Consulting on 07967 804140 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SJ Douglas at Spotlight Consulting on 07909 546104 or email@example.com
About Sterling Insurance Group
Sterling Insurance is a UK subsidiary of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, who are number one for property and liability insurance in France and served over 11.3 million policyholders, with earned premiums of €16.5bn in 2014.
Sterling Insurance provides a diverse range of niche insurance products including: Mid and High Net Worth Household; SME Commercial; Short term income Protection; Personal Accident; and Life from its regional offices around the UK. It also provides insurance administration and technology services to some of the country’s largest financial institutions. Its 2014 turnover was 151 million GBP and it has 387 employees, with the majority based at its offices in West Malling, Kent.