Why are two heads better than one? 6th September 2017Collaboration is a sign of a good team. It’s well recognised that it adds value in innovation and engagement across a business.Our UK Property and Casualty Senior Underwriters, Mark Pearce (MP) and Richard Beaumont (RB), have been working closely together to enhance the service we offer our brokers and the insured. They tell us how working together produces results.RB: “It’s a natural fit for us to work together to provide a more rounded service. We’ve worked together for 6 years on and off, so have a natural rapport that seems to complement each other.”MP: “We both bring different skills to the table. Where our knowledge and experience overlap, we are able to challenge each other, play devil’s advocate and know when to push our own perspectives. This benefits our brokers because they continually get the best out of us.”Often, particularly in larger insurers, the ‘silo mentality’ takes over. There’s a divisional focus, where their own KPIs takes precedence to the bigger picture, often to the detriment of what is best for the client; commonly resulting in a lack of cooperation, a single-minded perspective and an incomplete proposition.Whereas, those insurers who possess a more entrepreneurial, flexible culture understand the importance of focusing solely on delivering a solution to the client, rather than a financial metric.RB: “Collaboration allows us to look at everything on a case by case basis. We don’t believe in tarring all sectors with the same brush. So together we dig deeper into a risk to look at it on its own merits. There are instances where my initial Casualty only response would be to reject a risk, but on closer inspection and after some further discussions with Mark, the cross-class opportunity balances the underwriting exposure. And, of course, this works both ways.”MP: “This also works particularly well when we are looking at tailoring a bespoke facility.”RB: “Collaboration doesn’t just prove its value internally. There are certainly benefits for working collaboratively with our brokers.”MP: “Brokers are in a terrific position to drive policy innovation in response to their own clients’ needs. Our approach to underwriting is inclusive of our brokers and their clients input. It’s important we listen to what they have to say, use their own experience and take the time to understand how we can improve their existing proposition and meet their needs better.”RB: “It’s ensuring that we align our visions. Looking at the risk from the other persons point of view and trying to achieve a single frame of reference. It boils down to empathy and understanding which can give you a genuine advantage, because it increases engagement.”But, whilst it’s easy to talk about a collaborative and solution focused approach, the proof is in the delivery of a valuable portfolio. Just one example of Richard and Mark’s success in this area is the Probitas trade specific facility, built exclusively for one of their brokers.RB: “The broker was managing a large portfolio of risks within a specific industry with a range of carriers, numerous different wordings and wide spectrum of pricing models. Our relationship with the broker enabled us to work closely with them to design a solution. The idea was to provide an umbrella scheme which would allow them to have a specific product portfolio. We were well aware that we needed to make enhancements to ensure it was a slicker process for the broker – saving them both time and administrative costs. The motivator was a positive business outcome for both the broker and for us.”MP: “We knew from the outset that we wanted the proposition to be a significant improvement for the client and broker. So, we brought together a team to work together on the final proposition. Our analytics team joined us to consult with the broker on their existing offering. We looked at everything in detail – the wordings, pricing, IT platform, even getting into the nitty gritty soft facts about the industry.”RB: “All of this intelligence enabled us to shape a solution that would work for everyone involved. We started with a blank piece of paper and were able to offer a fresh perspective on the risk types, without any preconceptions which may affect our ability to be flexible, or open-minded in our approach.”MP: “I think that the time we spent getting under the bonnet was a benefit all around. We were able to understand the portfolio comprehensively, and therefore build a solution around the specialist needs of the industry, price it keenly and provide a seamless service, from initial submission to issuance of documentation.”With Richard and Mark’s teamwork, the broker has been able to promote a uniquly tailored offering to the market, increasing retention and new business. And, the clients are getting a cross-class solution that truly met their needs.RB: “The results are pleasing and certainly support the collaborative approach. Having set out clear objectives from the outset, it’s been satisfying to confidently tick them all off, from our perspective, the brokers perspective and of course the end user.”MP: “Of course, that’s not the end of the collaboration. It’s an ever-evolving facility, that we will continue to develop and enhance.”RB: “And, it’s positioned us perfectly to be able to replicate and adapt the model and process for other trade sectors too.”It’s clear that Richard and Mark complement each other, and that their two heads can certainly deliver more value to our brokers!