Personal Lines business, both High Net Worth (HNW) and Standard EDI type policies, have become a significant and growing part of what TEn is all about.
When TEn was first conceived in 2004 and then launched in 2005, it was imagined purely as a Commercial Lines Network.
This notion lasted for precisely six months, at which time at least a couple of HNW Household markets were added, in response to the business imperatives of our 5th AR, based in Westminster.
It was just as well we did that, because j9/10 new member after that, wanted them too. Indeed, a rapidly increasing range of HNW markets were required and, subsequently, added over the next 2-3 years.
Anticipating that there would be some requirement for Standard EDI Personal Lines to be covered, TEn originally made arrangements with a company called Outright, based in Stoke-on-Trent. Now known as UKAIS = Ageas.
This was and is an outsourcing operation, that answered incoming calls, on a dedicated number, as TEn. They would then deal directly with any customers that presented themselves and the commission was shared with the originating AR.
Unfortunately, as TEn + ARs were only Introducers in this scenario, for Compliance reasons, the handover of the client was total, with no opportunity to question whatever was done in our name.
This arrangement continued well enough for a handful of years and then by about 2010 - at first Household, followed by Private Motor - moved back in-house - in response to AR demand - and on to a Do-It-Yourself Quote & EDI system.
The rationale being that each AR would then be able to handle their own quotes, take-up, MTAs and renewals.
From September 2017, a Private Clients Team was established in our Princes Risborough office with the employment of one initial person, a HNW specialist with 25 years’ experience in the field.
The volume of HNW businessacross the network, both Household and Motor, had grown steadily over the years to about £4m GWP by 2017.
Prior to the Private Clients Team, this had been handled well enough by our predominantly Commercial broking teams, but without a specialist focus upon it.
Since then, the development of the Private Clients Team has continued as a Work in Progress. Even so, the gains in added-value have been significant.
At the same time, the headroom created in the Commercial Broking Teams, with the gradual transfer of renewals away from themselves and towards the HNW Team, has helped there too.
In January 2018, the Personal Lines Department (PLD) was established in TEn’s Sutton Coldfield office under Carl Jones (Head of Personal Lines), plus two part-time staff. And it has grown from there.
For the overwhelming majority of the network’s Commercial Brokers, the PLD now operates as the Personal Lines Department of each member, dealing directly with their clients, in terms of everything and in their name.
This is, of course, completely different from our modus operandi in respect of Private Clients and all Commercial business, where virtually for all client contact is with their local AR/Broker.
Conceptually, this is not a million miles away from our original solution involving Outright back in 2005. However, our ARs are not mere Introducers (IARs) and we can legitimately talk to them about their clients, whom TEn has dealt with directly, but on their behalf.
Therefore, we ask and encourage most of our members to say to their clients, “I shall put you through to my Personal Lines Department and they will be pleased to deal with your enquiry.”
Indeed, we have acquired a large number of 0333 telephone numbers, one for each Member, which will be answered in the name of as each AR/Broker, whenever their number is dialed.
The PLD will deal with MTAs and renewals, on each Brokers’ behalf, with that Brokers’ name and branding appearing on the documentation.
And, of course, client ownership remains with each Member, even though TEn will be doing most of the work.
Simple answer. Expertise and regulation. The PLD has the benefit of call-recording, compliant scripts and the ability to apply discounts, with the full authority of the relevant insurers. And, a referral path to most markets.
These are not features and options available to or used by our predominantly Commercial Brokers, who seldom have the requisite time - nor the experience - to get the best out of increasing subtle and complex quotation systems. Not to mention, chasing proof of bonuses and occasional signed proposal forms.
For a limited number of TEn ARs, the ones that do a focus of volume EDI business and have adopted call-recording and scripts etc, then the PLD will act as a referral point for those AR Brokers. In much the same way as our Broking Teams operate for Commercial business.
However, longer-term, we do not anticipate more than 10% of the membership wanting to retain and handle this type of business. For those that do, as a direct consequence of the PLD, we are much more able to be of assistance.