Luke Holloway talks to BIBA’s Graeme Trudgill about the power of the insurance broking community
The BIBA Conference was back with a bang this year as the UK’s largest broking event returned in-person for the first time since 2019, under the fitting theme of ‘Our insurance community’.
“Insurance is all about relationships,” says Graeme Trudgill, executive director of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), following the flagship conference that saw thousands of professionals unite in Manchester in May.
“Face-to-face interactions enrich those relationships that are at the heart of insurance and speed up the process of getting business done, so it is a huge positive to meet in person,” he adds.
Mr Trudgill feels the sense of community remained strong throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with brokers, insurers, loss adjusters and claims professionals working closely together to continue to serve customers.
“The theme of community and the unity in community really resonated this year. Also, we wanted to highlight how our professionals play such an important role in their local communities, as experts that support and guide clients and businesses when they are needed.”
The CII’s own BIBA fringe session discussed how building a network with a shared purpose can help professionals be the best at what they do, which Mr Trudgill agrees with. “It is incredibly helpful to have a network of professionals around you. At BIBA we have committees and boards featuring hundreds of experts, and together we tackle the challenges we face. We then aim to impart that knowledge to the wider BIBA family of more than 100,000 professionals, so that network is the core of the organisation – we really are the sum of our members.”
Mr Trudgill – a Chartered broker and Fellow of the CII – feels it is more critical than ever to build trust in insurance, with the pandemic shining a light on so many parts of the economy, including the insurance sector. “We saw travel and events insurers paying out thousands of claims but we had our challenges too,” he says. “This is one of the reasons
I became involved with the CII’s Transparency Forum, which is a valuable vehicle for building trust. I worked alongside the CII to help create a new companion to the Code of Ethics, pushing for greater clarity in policy wordings.
“Also, we often appear in the media promoting the benefits of insurance and the value of using a broker, so it is a continual job to highlight the positive work the industry does – and we must continue that to ensure we maintain trust in the sector.”
I believe brokers are innovators. There is a huge amount of talent rising through the insurance sector so if we all work together constructively, we will go from strength to strength
Commitment is key
The conference also saw BIBA continue to champion its 2022 manifesto on managing risk.
“Our key areas of focus centre around the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which was also prominent in the recent Queen’s speech,” says Mr Trudgill. “The bill contains a proposal for a new growth and competitiveness objective and should ensure the right balance of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation going forward, which is so important to us.
“A second major one is resolving challenges with insuring cladded buildings. Our team is working closely with the minister’s office, the housing safety minister and the Association of British Insurers, and we are committed to finding a path forward with this.
“A final key area is reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme funding model,” says Mr Trudgill. “Insurance broking firms rarely fail and we have never had enough failures to trigger the retail pool, however, brokers have to make significant contributions for the errors of other areas of financial services.
“We have called for a review of this funding model and have now met with the relevant team at the FCA to discuss our proposals for how it can work more fairly.”
There is much for BIBA to focus on and Mr Trudgill says commitment and perseverance are key. He cites his work as chair of the Disability Champions Access to Insurance signposting workstream as some of his most important work in recent years. The original service has now been active for more than 10 years and has received more than 860,000 enquiries in that time from older people with difficulties obtaining travel and motor insurance.
“I am really proud of what we have achieved,” he says. “This steering group launched the protection signposting agreement and subsequent to that, we launched the FCA travel medical firms directory while there is also signposting on flood insurance through the launch of the flood insurance directory.
“These are such good news stories and the brokers that specialise in these different areas can make all the difference.”
BIBA has also recently published guidance that supports insurance brokers in helping customers avoid the risks associated with being underinsured. “We have found that underinsurance is evident in 40%-45% of claims, so it is a major concern,” says Mr Trudgill.
“If the worst happens, we want to help put people and businesses back in the same position they were before the loss occurred, so it is really important right now that we overcome underinsurance issues.”
Overall, Mr Trudgill remains wholly positive about the future of the insurance profession. “We are in a healthy position,” he stresses. “In the coming years we will have a higher degree of people qualified, so we are seen as more professional, as well as becoming more diverse and inclusive in the future.
“I believe brokers are innovators. There is a huge amount of talent rising through the insurance sector so if we all work together constructively, we will go from strength to strength.” Certainly a community worth celebrating.
Luke Holloway is editor of The Journal
Mr Trudgill is BIBA executive director responsible for policy, public affairs, communication and technical department.
He is chair of the Disability Champions Access to Insurance signposting workstream and MOD Financial Services Steering Group member.
Mr Trudgill is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and Chartered insurance practitioner.